October 31, 2011

A First Halloween

A few memorable things have happened on this, Abigail's first Halloween:
1.  Today Abigail and I are flying back across the country to return home after our trip to New Jersey and since we have a 24 hour day with flights and layovers Abigail is not in costume.
2.  Abigail was dressed in a ladybug costume this past weekend at a halloween festival with Hillary (pictures were taken with Hillary's camera but due to the following events were not put onto the computer, hopefully I will have pictures for you soon)
3.  While we were in the festival there was a crazy snow storm in New Jersey
4.  Even though it was snowing we still went trick or treating until Abigail was too cold
5.  We then went home among the down trees, live power lines across the street and blinding snow
6.  We huddled in the house happy to be home and then the electricity and heat went out.
7.  By noon on Sunday the power and heat was still out so we packed up and move to Hillary and Drew's friends house where there were lights, warm food and hot showers.
8.  And then we headed to the airport

All in all, a very memorable first Halloween for this Mama and her little girl.  Hope you all have a fun and safe day.

October 28, 2011

Off We Go

Abigail and I have been on an adventure this week, a cross-country adventure.
 We left Fairbanks at one in the morning (hence Abigail's outfit) and headed south to the Seattle airport.  There we had a 3 1/2 hour lay over and this mama discovered the joy of "kiddy" areas.  Parts of the airport set aside just for kids with extra thick carpet, toys and activities all enclosed where my little munchkin couldn't scoot away but could get out a bunch of energy.
 There we played, reorganized our snacks in the carry on and planned out our entertainment strategy for our next 5 1/2 hour flight, a strategy that involved a lot of books, toys and snacks.  And what a successful strategy it was because in the end it got us where we were going.  As the only baby on that long flight Abigail did amazing, so amazing the stewardess said she forgot a baby was on flight, amazing.
All this planning, packing, and flying was for one main purpose, to spend time with Aunt Hillary, Uncle Drew and Grover in New Jersey.  A time where this baby girl is being loved, entertained and adored.  Can't wait to share with you all that we have been up to, check back soon. 
  

October 27, 2011

Here We Go

Abigail’s snowsuit has been taken out of storage, a new wool hat is being knitted, the blankets are washed and ready, yes indeed, winter has arrived.
And someone is pretty excited about it!

October 26, 2011

Time To Craft

Even though it is only October there has been a lot of talk and thoughts on Christmas around our house.  And with all of that talk has come some time for creating.
My sewing area is still up in our sitting area right outside of Abigail’s bedroom.  It is the perfect place wit the thought that Abigail can play in her room while I get some projects done.  But as it turns out Abigail does love to play but play right where her Mama is.  So when I am cutting and piecing fabric Abigail hangs out under the cutting table.
And when I am sewing Abigail’s place is right under the desk.  She has declared herself Queen of the pressure foot.  Oh how interesting it is to try and sew when I have very little control over how fast the needle moves.  I am also learning to turn my machine off each and every time I finish a stitch.  
But even with the company the sewing projects have been coming out very nicely.  So much so that the other day I decided to do a little project for myself that I have wanted to do.  I had grabbed these jeans at the free market in August and they fit great except they were about an inch too short for my legs.
So I used some fabric left over from a recent project we made for a very special person and fixed my pants to fit me just a little better.
And as I tried them I could not be more pleased.  It feels so good in my newly decorated house jeans and Abigail loves that there is color and design right at her eye level.  A little time for crafts makes everyone happy.

October 25, 2011

A Love of Books

Abigail loves to read.
Every since she was born I have read to her each and every day but recently that love of story time is more about the story and less about just wanting to eat the book.
We have a basket of books in the kitchen, a bookshelf in her bedroom and a basket of favorites by the rocking chair and each and every location is visited and the books looked at daily.
The other day as I was cooking I heard Abigail laughing to herself.  When I looked for her I found her slowly turning the pages in a book and laughing at each new picture that she saw.  Flap books, touch and feel books, small and large books are all very much loved in this house.

October 24, 2011

The Need To Be In Control

In the gardening world so very much is left up to nature.



The wind, temperature, sunshine, the rain, the lack of rain and the animals that feast of all that does grow.



After a few years of having our garden at home, the house is finished enough for Josh to take the time to build us a greenhouse.  For now the greenhouse has just been framed up.  The raised beds, windows, doors and plastic covering will call come in the spring.



But as the snow falls I look our my window and see the structure of my greenhouse and feel so very excited about next year’s growing season.  Finally, I will have a little bit of control.

October 21, 2011

Pumpkins

One of the most excited things that  grew in our garden this year were our pumpkins.

The seeds were old, very old, and I started the plants with the feeling that if anything grew yeah but if not that was ok and it was just an experiment.
Yet these old seeds surprised me and produced seven pumpkins.  All which were picked green before the frost and then slowly turned orange in my big windows.
That is all but our big pumpkin.  That one stayed on the ground near the window and Abigail loved to play with it each day.
I enjoyed how the pumpkins helped our house feel bright and cheerful as the autumn winds blew all of the leaves off of our trees.
And some of the smaller pumpkins were used in a small arrangement for the table.
But the bigger pumpkins have a much different purpose than just pleasing our eyes.  They have been cut up, cooked, pureed and baked.  These days we are cooking up roasted pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies and dreaming of the next few days when we plan to make breads, cakes, pancakes, pumpkin butter and so much more.
Oh yeah, that makes us super happy indeed.

October 20, 2011

At Home

Josh has to work this Saturday but has been able to take today off. How excited we all are to have a mini weekend in the middle of the week. This will be a day to enjoy for sure. Hope your Thursday is enjoyable as well.

October 19, 2011

In The Kitchen

As I said on Monday, cooler days tend to lead themselves to warmer, more comfort type meals.



My fall favorite meal is butternut squash soup.  Something about this soup that just screams fall and as much as I love this meal I don’t make it any other time of the year.  It is such a joy to chop vegetables that are from our garden and dream of next year when the squash will hopefully be homegrown as well.



I made a double batch of soup and canned some this year.  I am very excited to see this in my pantry for the days when I am just not sure what to have for lunch.  Miss Abigail is hit or miss on the soup but hopefully she grows to love it as much as her mama.  In addition to the soup making I also tried my hand in making some roasted moose for Josh’s lunches.  I have made plenty of roasts in the crock pot but this was my first attempt at making it in the oven where it would them be good for slicing and sandwiches.  I am please to tell you that Josh says it is great and tastes better than store bought deli.  So much better indeed!



And as I chop, peal, roast and marinate my little girl is right here with my at all times.  She is so very good at playing with her toys as long as Mama is right near by.  She loves “her” drawer in the kitchen, the one full of Tupperware containers, and who needs popsicles when the stick is so much fun to suck on by itself, ha ha.

October 17, 2011

An Uncertain Welcome

Autumn is such a wonderful time of year.  It is a time of preparation, warm soups, red cheeks from crisp air, reminder of woodstove smoke in the air and the cuddle of wool and fleece clothing.  I see it as a time to embrace the last colors, the roads that are not yet slippery, the walks that don’t yet involve snowsuits and fact that the sun still has enough strength of warm the earth enough each day to keep the snow away.



Autumn is a wonderful time and a very long one this year but that time has come to an end.  I have pictures for you of last week’s happenings that involve a lot of color but I thought I should let you know what happened this weekend, winter arrived.  It is such a beautiful thing to see the world turn white, all blemishes are covered for now.  The wild rabbits that live in our yard have been white and ready for this event for weeks now, but for me, I am not sure if I am as prepared.  Physically everything is ready for this event.  The tires on the car have been changed, the yard is picked up, the wood is hauled, we all have had our flu shots, the windows sealed shut but in my mind I still dream of waking up to sunshine and birds singing.  But ready or not the time has come.  I think I will go light a candle to bring some warmth and light on this cold and snowy morning.  That and I just might make a batch of cookies.                        

October 15, 2011

A Garden Year In Review

Last fall I wrote a little review of what worked in my garden that year and what I hoped to do differently the coming summer.  It might not have been a very memorable or stellar blog post for you but it helped me a lot this spring, as I got ready for the 2011 garden year.  Thus I decided I should do it again.



This was a great gardening year for different reasons than last year but still good.  Due to a cooler and wetter year the onions, basil and cucumbers just didn’t make it.  Next year we should have our greenhouse, more on that to come, and the basil, tomatoes, cucumbers and possibly some bell peppers will all go in there.  I want to try my hand in starting tomatoes from seed and grow enough basil to be able to make a good bit of homemade pesto.



The zucchini plants started from seed did great.  Do not be concerned next year and buy a starter, 5 zucchini plants are too much, 3 would be just fine.

The celery was great.  Start that from seed again but next year don’t wait until the end of the summer to harvest it.  Like lettuce it grows back when the main stalks are harvested, so happy I now know this, so eat fresh celery all summer long.

The carrots did great, repeat.  But next year grow just Yukon golds for potatoes, we love them and know they work.  German Butterball potatoes were kind of a dud.



The broccoli was amazing, as was the cauliflower.  Next year I would like to plant at least a ½ of row of just broccoli.  Starting from seed with seeds from Johnny’s have worked great for two seasons, definitely repeat.

As for the cauliflower, it did terrible two years ago started from seed but my starts did great this year.  I should try it from seed again next year but maybe buy one or two starts just to make sure it all works out.



Starting green beans from seed worked but I did it way too early.  By the time I transplanted my plants the stress of it killed them.  I then put seeds right in the ground and ended up getting a good bit of green beans but not until late August.  I really have great dreams of a big green bean crop.  The past two years I have started my snap pea plants 3 weeks before the outside ground was ready.  This way they are just starting to really grow when they are transplanted and they have done very well both years.  Do this method with the green beans next year and maybe we will get a good transplant and a hearty harvest.



The pumpkins did great, more on them in another post.  I have to say they are one of the most fun to watch grow.  It is easy to cut them off the vine and have them turn orange inside so as long as the starts get started early enough, I started this years in late March, I might be good to get more pumpkins again.  Next year I want to try more winter squash, possible some acorn and butternut squash.  I want to plant the pumpkins in the lower garden with the potatoes but the butternut and acorn can be in the corners of the main garden.



And I must remember, this little girl loves fresh veges from the garden.  More is always better!

October 14, 2011

A Pantry Full Of Fun

Abigail loves to explore and play.  Whenever I open the pantry door this little girl comes crawling as fast as she can to explore all of the colors, sights and textures there are to be seen on all of our shelves.  This video is two weeks old so these days she is even better at getting around and I have also moved the canned salmon, what she gets into at the end of the video.


October 13, 2011

One Last Harvest

The nights in Fairbanks are getting longer and the days are getting cooler.  But even as we settle in to our cozy home with the woodstove roaring there was still one more part of the garden to be harvested.



Our carrots were the last things left in the ground.  Last year our carrots were so very good that I planted a larger section of the garden this year and we were excited to see how they did.  With Abigail bundled up she and I headed to the garden.  Abigail took a little nap on my back as I dug around in the cold dirt looking for each and every carrot.



We are so very excited about how our crop did this year.  We filled an 18 gallon tote with our carrots and since that day have been eating them steamed, raw, and in casseroles, soups, pot pies and with moose roasts.  I am looking for a good recipe for a carrot soup, any suggestions?    

October 12, 2011

Welcome, Leave Your Coat At The Door

Until the deck was built this summer there was not exterior access to our arctic entry.  Then early in the summer when the deck and stairs were built up to the arctic entry door Shoeless arrived to stay with us and he moved on into his “room”.   With the dog bed, food bowl and water dish in there we didn’t use it for any more than a hallway all summer long.



But Shoeless has since moved out so now our arctic entry can now become more of what it was meant to be



For months now the coats we wear into the house get piled on the kitchen chairs right by the door the leads into the arctic entry.  A lot of time I promote entering the house through the basement where the coats can be stored but that doesn’t always 


So you can probably imagine my excitement when Josh built us some coat racks the other day.  They are both at an angle and at different heights to provide as much storage space as possible and to allow the little person in the house to be able to reach a hook and someday hang her own coat up.  What a wonderful addition to our home and great use of the arctic entry.

October 11, 2011

Colors Before The Frost

I am willing to be the first to admit that I grow vegetables.



I might not know much about vegetables but I have worked hard at learning what I do know.   I try different soils, seeds, places for my planting, harvesting and fertilizing of my vegetable garden.



I am not so much into growing flowers.  I love flowers, please don’t get me wrong, but I am no so very good at growing them.



I do not know names, what does good where, which one will grow high or thick, which will come back next year or last only one season.  



In my center garden bed I planted poppies and daisies that I started from seed inside last spring and in July I spread a pack of Alaskan Wildflower seeds from Ben and Kari’s wedding last year.



I have to admit that it didn’t seem like anything would grow all summer.  My garden was full of green stalks and leaves right up until the week before our first frost.  Who would have thought that just at the every end of summer we would have an outburst of color in my garden.



Now I have to just wait and see which ones come back next year because honestly, I have no idea. 

October 5, 2011

Lessons I Learned From My Father

As fall arrived a few weeks ago my parents packed up their little white car, dog and all, and headed south to the warmer and sunnier parts of the world.  As I reflect on the three months they spent with us in Fairbanks I do so with a smile.  It was a wonderful summer, went too fast, so much happened and so much is to be remembered.  The past two summers my mother was here I was able to spend a lot of time with her and as it worked out this summer that my dad was here I was able to spend a lot of time with him as well. 

I have discovered with great joy that I have a grown up friendship with my parents.  And this summer, the summer I turned 30, the first summer I was a mother, and the summer both of my parents lived in Fairbanks was the summer I learned a lot of things from my father.  I learned…

How to properly stack a pile of split wood
 How to cook the perfect omelet
 That eating bacon, something I haven’t done in 16 years, is a good thing
 That even if it rains, if the wood is in the shed and isn’t getting wet, it is a good day.
That no matter how old you are you can start a new job, do well and have fun all if you have the right attitude.
 That it is important to keep a small amount of fun money aside in your budget and to spend it having fun.
 That a pepsi in a glass of ice is the cheapest payment I will ever have to make in exchange for wood being hauled.
 How to cook bacon, pork chops and baby back ribs and enjoy eating them.
 How to work with Abigail in a swimming pool.
 Invest for my daughter’s future
 How to help my green beans grow straight even if I did plant the wrong type of green beans.
 How a little drywall mud can cover a multitude of errors nobody every needs to know about.
 That no matter how much fun it might sounds, giving a nine month old part of a chocolate donut is never a good idea.
How much fun it is to learn from my father.  When I was younger I knew way too much for my own good.  It is a joy to realize that as an adult there is much to learn from both of my parents and how much fun that time of learning can be.

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