February 26, 2010

Friday Favorites

1. A dinner out with Josh to celebrate a financial victory and stepping stone in our goals.

2. Loving my time with Beth Moore each day. I look forward to it each day. Growing so much in the book of Isaiah.

*On Friday's I'll list something that stood out to me during the week. Something I can look back on and see as high points through out the year. I would also love to hear what stood out as a favorite to you in your week.*

Cake Anyone?

As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, I recently borrowed a few new cookbooks from the library and was trying out some new recipes. When I was looking through the Pioneer Woman Cook's book I kept being drawn to her recipe for a Red Velvet Cake. I have never made a red velvet cake. It seems very fancy but I thought I would give it a try since I wanted to make at least one item from her book.
The one thing that Josh noticed was that the recipe had a lot of steps. In reality is probably didn't have any more steps than any other red velvet cake from a different cookbook but Pioneer Woman took pictures of each step.
I didn't take pictures of each step but once I added the food coloring I grabbed my camera. It is fun to make things that turn out red.
Or in my case, a little pink. The recipe called for 2 oz of red food coloring, the little bottles that come in the boxes of food coloring are only 0.8 oz, who knew?
But once the cake baked I did see the chocolate swirls like the book said it should, so I didn't feel so bad. That and the cookbook says to make two 8" round pans and then you stack the cake but I decided it would be a little easier to make a 9x13. In my "temporary" kitchen I still don't have any other baking pans besides my large Pyrex.
I even went on to make the cream cheese frosting.
Overall, Josh enjoyed it. Josh enjoys most cake. This was a fun cake to make this week but I think I will keep this kind of cake for the future "once in a very special occasion" type for cake. That and as much as Josh loves the cake I think acake this rich for one guy is a little too much. Anyone want to come over for some cake?

February 25, 2010

Lego Mania

Almost 3 years ago (2 years and 8 months to be exact) Josh and I packed up our little apartment in town for our move to the land. At that time Josh's lego supply was packed up and has been stored in its many boxes safely away.
Last week Josh got a cold
This past weekend we watched our friend's kids who begged Josh to play with his legos on Saturday morning before breakfast.
The legos haven't been repacked since.
I guess a bowl of chicken soup and a book helps some people get over a cold. Josh gets better after plenty of hours with his legos by a warm wood stove and a friendly bunny rabbit to keep him company.
This morning Josh didn't seem as stuffed up and last night he didn't cough very much. I think he might be getting better.
Yet I wonder, now that the legos have been let out after almost 3 years (or 2 years and 8 months to be exact) if they will go back to their boxes very easily so that we can go back to working on the house?
Wait a second, Josh must have read this blog post because he is coughing again. We will just have to wait and see.

February 24, 2010

A Little Craftiness

As I mentioned last month in this post, Josh and I recently got a new MacBook Pro. We love our new computer. Josh has taken it to work, we have taken it to the library and as it travels around we figured it was time for it to have a case to keep it safe. Josh went to look at the ones at Office Max and found one he really liked for $80, humm. After a little thought I figured I could make one for a little less.
I started by looking into my fabric selection at home before I went to the store. I found these two pieces of fabric that I had tucked away. Both given to me by my mother-in-law in an Easter basket two years ago. A great idea that she had was to line the basket with one piece of fabric and then wrap the basket in the other piece. (I since have followed suit with this idea, much more fun than wrapping paper) While I was leaning towards the piece on the right, Josh had asked for a more manly computer case, I went for the fabric on the left. Not quite camo but no flowers either.
Next I needed flannel, in my stores I had some off white that I have already used for this project and for this so it had definitely paid for itself and was coming in handy once again. The third piece of material I needed was fleece for the padding. In my "give to Value Village" pile was this blue fleece shirt given to me by Heather a few years ago that just didn't fit right any more. I decided instead of giving it away I would cut it up and use the fabric as my padding. It worked great.
Two hours later, the final product.
Sorry no progress pictures I was hard at work.
I modified the pattern to add a lined pocket on top so that we could carry around our power cord and mini-mouse
Overall I am very thrilled with the finished project and was super excited after all the work to slide the computer in and find that the computer fit perfectly, I am NOT a very confident seamstress.
Few lessons I learned along the way:
1. Even though I have a button jar and cut buttons off shirts before they are made into rags, I really don't have a button collection when it comes to a project made from supplies made at home.
2. No matter how long and hard I read my sewing machine's instruction manual, I can't figure out how to make a button hole. Luckily Velcro worked for this project. Note to self, next time mother is visiting have her give me a lesson, again, on making button holes.
1. A fun day in the sewing room
2. A new padded computer case
3. Used only materials on hand
4. Zero dollars spent

February 23, 2010

My Library Bag Is Full

Books I have been enjoying:
Fun Reading
1. The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama
A book I picked out from the cruise library and loved. The story of two brothers who are raised by their grandparents in Japan. The book spans from 1936 until 1966 and covers their views of the war and Japan's post-war economic and cultural recovery.

2. This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women by Jay Allison (editor), Dan Gediman (editor), John Gregory (editor), Viki Merrick (editor)
A book given to me by a friend who had read this in her book club. A great book for my travels and for a pick up in between other books. It is full of short, 2-4 page, stories from many different people on what they believe. It makes me crave a pen or pencil to make notes in the margins, I know cringe, I am someone who likes to write in books if they aren't from the library. Luckily my friend gave this one to me so I can write in the margins and if I someday pass it on to you, please feel free to do so as well.

3. The Myth of You and Me by Leah Steward
On my trips to the library I try to grab at least one book I haven't heard of before. Most times I will only skim this book and it will be return on the next trip back to the library. But sometimes I will come across a great book and thus a new author, like Gail Tsukiyama I already talked about. I choose the Myth of You and Me last time because, honestly, the cover was bright red and very attractive. The story, just ok. But I am enjoying it. It is the story of two friends, great friends. I am still not 100% done, if you know me you know I have read the end already, Gasp I know I am one of those people too, but I am not done with the book yet so the verdict is still out.

Blogger Books
In the world of blogging there seems to be a lot of bloggers writing books and A LOT of people have been raving about them. I have been interested in seeing these books too. So recently I asked my library to obtain them or get them via inter-library loan since they are all very new. Most are cook books.
1. Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond
Original blog: The Pioneer Woman

2. Homemade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soule
Original Blog: Soule Mama (link also found on my side bar)

3. Make it Fast, Cook it Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking by Stephanie O'Dea
Original Blog: A year of Slow cooking (link also found on my side bar)

4. Family Feast for $75 a Week By Mary Ostyn
Original Blog: Owlhaven
(Even through we are just a couple and I feed us on much less than $75 a week I was just curious to see her recipes and I actually made her chocolate peanut butter balls this weekend for Josh and our friends and they were a big hit. I think that recipe is a keeper.)

Before returning the books I cooked or made one thing out of each book to just see what I thought. I think of all the blogger books I got from the library the only one I would like to own would be the Crock pot cookbook. It is the only one that has recipes I will really use over and over again making it a worthy purchase to me. Don't get me wrong, the other books are nice, have good advice and great pictures. I am glad I got them from the library for a fun read and look over.

Study Books
1. Breaking Free by Beth Moore
Our church is doing Beth Moore's 10 week study in 10 months so we only have to do a week's homework in one month, but I am loving this study so much I am not sure how that is going to work for me. We just had our meeting last Thursday and I only have one day of homework left for the month. I might just work ahead on the homework and then just enjoy the videos for the rest of the year. It is a great study and I am loving all I am learning.

What are you reading and enjoying today?
If you are willing to share I would love it, I am always looking for good and fun books of all topics.

February 22, 2010

Weekend Fun

In the past few days I have scrapped paint and drywall mud off of window sills
Watched the winter sun set outside my beautiful windows
And finally cleaned off the drips of drywall mud that used to be all over the windows and drove my mother nuts.
I enjoyed doing all this in preparation for the next house project.

February 19, 2010

Friday Favorites

1. A lunch date with my husband at the local outdoor ice rink on a beautiful day
2. A walk in Creamer's Field with a friend
3. A tea party with two friends on a day off work for President's Day
*On Friday's I'll list something that stood out to me during the week. Something I can look back on and see as high points through out the year. I would also love to hear what stood out as a favorite to you in your week.*

A Mexican Souvenir

Before our trip Josh I and decided we should each pick one thing that we would like to bring back from our time in Mexico. I said that I would really like to get a silver ring for my right hand. Josh said that he really wanted to get a chaimmock, a chair hammock, that he could hang in the basement.
We actually ended up being successful in finding both items at a little stop we made to see wood workers on our way to Concordia. I now have a beautiful new ring that I love and Josh is enjoying relaxing in the evenings in his new chaimmock. Fun for both of us and great memories for our vacation.

February 18, 2010

Something New

For the past 3 1/2 years of weekly migraines I have changed so many parts of my life and yet the migraines have persisted. So I have finally given in to trying something new.
You know, the type of something new that comes with the warning labels that say: this could cause diarrhea, constipation, drowsiness, trouble sleeping, mood swings, could make birth control ineffective but don't take if you are trying to become pregnant.
All I have to say is,

A Weekend Project

When Josh and I were first married, I bought this corner bookshelf from the store School House Express when they went out of business. It worked fine for our itty bitty apartment but I have always had a great vision of the day when I would finally take the time to make it something that would work for our future home. This past weekend was finally the time.
First step: Sanding
Then priming
Unfortunately in opening the can of primer the lid didn't come off correctly, luckily Josh had a different can I could transfer the primer into to.
I choose to paint the bookshelf the same red as the bed frame thinking that it would go well in our guest room with the red curtains and the crackled bed frame.
I painted 5 coats of red paint before I closed the paint can for good. I don't think it can get any MORE red at this point.
Once it dries we will see if it does look as good as I hope in the guest room or if we will need to find a different location. Overall though, I love how it came out. What do you think?

February 17, 2010

Quote of the Day

"You've always been great toward me-what love!...You, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit."
Psalm 86:13, 15
The Message

Love Is...

A jar full of little notes describing the things I love about my husband.
A fun project for me to do, a great Valentine's Day present that didn't put me in a store once, and a great reminder to him and me of all the wonderful things he is to me.

February 16, 2010

Drywall, Drywall When Will It Ever End??

This past fall when we worked on our laundry room we purchased a little extra drywall. For the past few months the 5/8" has been stacked by the wood stove and the 1/2" has been stacked behind the couch.
In our very unfinished basement.
Since we are saving for siding right now we don't want to go out and purchase supplies for other house projects but since we had the drywall already...
we figured it was about time to put it up on the walls.
With the extra tall walls in our basement we use two sheets plus a little extra as we did in the laundry room
Yet unlike drywalling the rest of the house, we still have our things in the basement to work around
and to move every time we wanted to hang a different piece.
We started this the Sunday we got back and worked each night after work
Late into the evenings
Until we started to run out of extra drywall
With small pieces Josh started to wrap the HRV/Beam chase that runs down the length of the basement.
And finally Friday night we vacuumed and move things back into place in our 2/3rds drywalled basement.
That is brighter and a little less full, if possible, with most of the drywall on the ceiling and walls.
There are a bunch of other things going on in the house project category so we don't have plans to purchase more drywall to finish the remaining 1/3rd right now or plans to mud what is hung. For now the basement will remain unfinished until another day when we have the time to work a little more.

February 15, 2010

The Fun We Had The Day It Rained

Our third Mexican city to visit was at Puerto Vallarta. We had a wonderful excursion planned for that day, Zip Lining through the Jungle. As we waited for our tour to start we were entertained to see a Carnival Ship pull into port next to our big Norwegian Star.
To get to the Jungle we all (30 of us) loaded into a speed boat for a 25 minute ride along the coast.
And we rode right into this rain storm
Since Josh and I had chosen the very front of the boat we were able to experience the most "fun"!
As we slowed down, aka the rain didn't feel like hail any more, we were able to enjoy the wildlife and the huge coastal homes along the way. The boat ride had brought us to this point. This hill doesn't look too steep in the picture but it really was San Fransisco Steep!
And we got to ride in this 1950's truck. I have to say it was super fun! Once we got to the base camp we geared up, took a 20 minute ride on a mule to the top of the mountain and started our zip line decent. It was wonderful. Along the way we also did two repels, one down a water fall and the other a free fall repel off of a suspended platform. We got drenched and didn't mind one bit that it rained. The only thing we were sad about in the end was that we wished we could do it again! Sorry no pictures from the actual adventure since we really did get wet, we zip lined into a river, and couldn't bring our camera.
When we got back to the boat that afternoon we showered to warm up and took a nap. When we woke up the rain clouds had started to move away.
We decided to take advantage of the evening and took a taxi downtown. Once there we walked among shops located right by the beach. We enjoyed the beach a whole lot more than the shops!
As night time fell it was super cook to see this church lite up among all of the cobble stone streets.
But before we could return to the boat we wanted to make one more stop, at a Mexican Wal-Mart, just to see what it was like. Honestly, it was just the same as the one here in Fairbanks. But we did laugh a lot!
Overall it was a great day. If you ever get the chance to head down to Mexico and are near Puerto Vallarta you should looking to Vallarta Tours, it really was the best adventure/tour I have been on. Well staffed, great plan, good price, clean and fun!
From there we had two days on the ship back to LA. Here we are a week later and we both agree it was a wonderful vacation. We came back from the trip rested enough that we have been working hard on the house every day/evening we are home. Check back tomorrow to see the activity that has been going on, and driving Zeke crazy.

Let Me Tell You A Story

Years ago my mother bought the kids a bear that reads them The Night Before Christmas.   It is a favorite every year to everyone, but Josh....