July 31, 2012

There Is A 22 In the Basement

Last summer our garden was plagued with moose problems in the fall.  In fact the neighborhood moose were more than happy to harvest almost all of our peas and broccoli for us, much to my keen disappointment.  But so far this year we have been moose safe and so thankful.
That was until yesterday.  My mother took this picture in the afternoon when I was in town for Physical Therapy.  You can imagine my sheer anxiety over it.  Everything in the garden is peak for growing and harvesting, by us and NOT by the moose.  When I told Josh over the phone that we had moose visitors he reminded me that the 22 was in the basement and I had to use it to scare them away.  Well last night when these boys showed up once again for a snack I used a tennis ball instead, not smart on my part.  A hour later we heard them once more.  So now as I write this post my 22 sits next to me.  These boys need to know that I am willing to sit up all night if necessary, but that produce is mine, not theirs!!

**Update:  The moose showed up around 5:20 this morning and I heard them, even though I had finally gone to bed.  Josh used the 22 to shoot near them and scared them off.  Something about the sound of a gun shot is a lot scarier to them than me shouting.  I will keep a close watch on my yard for these visitors again today but hopefully they were scared enough to go graze somewhere else.  I am just so thankful to still have my broccoli plants this morning.**

July 30, 2012

The Outdoor Shop

The work on the basement is going great but I know many of you must be asking, if the basement is being worked on where does the actual work take place??
Well, this spring when Josh moved all of his tools our of the basement they were moved into our woodshed.  The firewood in the shed is stacked double high so that the floor in the back of the shed is actually pallets on top of stacked firewood.  This past winter we had used up all of the wood on the top portion so Josh is able to use the front of the shed as well as the back of the shed for using his woodworking tools.
It is here, in the woodshed, that the wood preparation, cutting, sanding, jointing, and finishing is taking place these days.  The cons to this situations are that the woodshed is a little cooler, Josh is a little cramped for space and the bugs are Josh's constant companions.  The pros are no dust in the house, no problem with loud noises, and no worries about the smells from the finishing work.  It seems like the pros are more in my favor, oh boy.  Thankfully I have a great husband who is willing to work in these conditions for the time being.
And work he does.  Great work too.  The project you see him working on in all of these pictures is the frames for the cabinet doors for the storage I talked about last week.  Due to a week of 12 hour days at work, the work on the home front has slowed a little.  Yet as tired as he is, the home labor has not stopped.  You see we have a guest coming in a week and the work must go on so that things are ready.  More updates to come soon!!

July 27, 2012

Such a Perfect Day

A few things happened yesterday that made it just a great day.  A day that was so fun that even though it is Friday, and I usually talk just about the garden on Fridays, I had to share.  You see on the cold days of winter, or even the rainy days of summer, I want to look back on this post and remember the day and how much fun it was.  

This summer has been super fun in the fact that I have a lot of company.  Josh is home most weekends from work and when he goes back to work on Monday mother starts her weekend and is home Mon-Wed (she works 4 10's).  So Thursdays and Fridays tend to be the only days that Abigail and I are really left on our own.  Usually my To Do list dictates what needs to be done, especially on those two days of just us in the house, but yesterday was so warm and sunny after so many days of rain that the To Do list was ignored and Abigail and I headed outside.
 In the morning before the sun was too high, and the bugs were too bad, we spent the morning in the yard.  There was hours of collecting rocks, playing in our small patch of grass where we pulled all of the mushrooms that had grown from the rainy days, garden admiring and of course a long bit of pushing Abigail in her swing.
 But after Abigail's mid-day nap the sun was out in full force and it was getting hot.  This weather is the perfect deck weather, and otter pop weather.  I love that at 19 months Abigail has my love for an occasional otter pop and she completely knows how to manage the pop to get the last bit of juice out of the bottom.  So running bare, except for her bonnet, my girl enjoyed this hot and wonderful day.
 And I didn't mind if she ended up covered in otter pop juice since after the treat she just jumped right back into her little "pool" that she went in and out of all afternoon.  I did put a blanket up on the railing to help keep her in the shade while she played and in return she dumped cup full after cup full of water on my feet and legs, ahh it felt good.  I wish we had a little pool that would fit this pregnant mama!  We rounded out the afternoon with a walk and more yard play where Abigail played in the sandbox and I "played" in the greenhouse.  A must for me on days like this where I keep all the windows and doors open, in addition to running the fan, and it still gets over 100 degrees inside with our plants.  Abigail even had a before dinner treat of raspberries from the yard and peas from the garden since it was just too nice to head in just yet even as the clock moved closer to 6pm.  
I guess if every day was like yesterday there would be some of the wonderfulness loss in the routine but after so much rain such a day was perfect.  I am not the only one that completely fell in love with our sunshine yesterday either.  Just so you don't feel sad, here is a glimpse of our garden.  The sun is doing its thing and we have produce growing like crazy after so many weeks of stunting cold weather.  If you feel cheated that I didn't talk about the garden much today go ahead and head over to my mother's blog because just yesterday she posted about her role in helping our garden grow.  As for me, I just might head back outside.

July 26, 2012

Growing Tall

Ever since Abigail was born, she has been placed in a sleep sack to sleep.  There are several advantages to this, in my opinion, and thus the reasons for this nightly ritual.  The first and main reason is that in our cold climate these sleep sack guarantee that Abigail will be covered with a blanket all night long.  The additional advantage, and more important one these days, is that by placing Abigail inside a sleep sack at night she can't even attempt to try and climb out of her crib.  Since our girl is such a climber I feel very blessed that with her legs slightly restricted she hasn't even tried this dreaded activity, yeah for that peace of mind.
 But recently we have had a little trouble with her sleep sacks.  You see she has grown taller and is therefore pushing at the bottom of the bag.  I went to the store the other day to get her the 24 month sleep sack but couldn't find one.  I guess at this point a lot of mothers have moved away from the tradition of sleep sacks.  So with the need in place but no option at the store I decided my best bet was to just sew a new sack.  I set out to accomplish this goal with just her old sleep sack as a pattern, a new zipper and some really fun fleece fabric I had in my stash.
 The end result turned out great.  Do the store bought sleep sacks have such large neck lines, well no, but it does fit.  I did accomplish the most important part and that is she can't get out of it and it is soft and warm.  I realized when I was almost done sewing that I bought a normal zipper.  You see most sleep sacks have upside down zippers so that little toddlers don't just unzip them themselves.  Since Abigail does know how to unzip a normal zipper I adapted her new sleep sack with the tab on the top to cover the top of her zipper.  Hopefully she doesn't learn how to unbutton buttons any time soon.
I laughed as I sewed this project because it seems so big that I thought she would fit in it until kindergarden.  Yet once it was on her I realized it was really great.  There is plenty of room to still grow but our girl is getting tall and she finally has room to once again wiggle her toes when she sleeps.  

July 25, 2012

The Next Design

After cleaning the basement, hanging drywall, mudding and taping all of that sheetrock, priming, painting and then more painting, you think Josh would be tired.  
And yes, while Josh is a little tired these days, it does not mean that he is taking a break at all.  Instead the night we put the second coat of purple on the walls I found Josh working out the next design for our basement.  (I always love that I find Josh's designs, cut lists and supply lists of things to purchase always written on scrap pieces of drywall, plywood or cut off end of a board.)
You see as a storage/wood shop our basement didn't have to look all that great, it just had to be functional.  Yet as it is transformed into a family room and permanent portion of our house Josh wants to make sure all that is in this room fits into a finished home.  Two years ago Josh built us these storage shelves in the basement.  They have been wonderful for storing camping gear, winter stuff in the summer and summer stuff in the winter, christmas decorations and all those types of things that storage shelves hold.  The shelves have been covered with a piece of fabric and that has been just fine for the wood shop days.  But these shelves are now the next step on Josh's to do list.  The 2x4 frames need covered and the space closed it.  Since this picture was taken a few days ago Josh has spent many hours on this and I am excited to show it all to you soon.  Great plans have been made for this family room of ours and Josh is still going strong.  Lets just hope he just doesn't get too tired.

July 24, 2012

Seeing Blue

Today is week 33 for this pregnancy with our little baby boy.  As for how thing are going, I would have to say great.  I am so thankful everyday that I am walking since at 17 weeks I wasn't.  Who would have thought this third trimester would be easier than the typical second trimester?  But between physical therapy, iron pills, and b-12 shots I am feeling stronger and have a little more energy then I did a few weeks ago.  Oh, and I feel bigger, much much bigger.
I was talking to my sister the other day on the phone and mentioned the baby and she laughed since sometimes she forgets he is coming, how different this pregnancy is from Abigail's!  Later that day I was thinking about her comment and laughed myself since I am don't think I could forget this little man if I tried these days.  I can no longer see my feet, running is a waddle and picking up anything off the floor makes me have to stop and catch my breath.  This past week I worked on organizing little baby clothes.  We have always tried to keep things around here relatively gender neutral, but as much as we have tried we do have a girly girl and there is a lot of pink in our world right now.  So you can imagine my smile as I looked at the cloth line and saw all of the blue.       

July 23, 2012

Going Deep With Color

Last Monday I hinted that we were going to have some fun color in the basement soon.  Over the past week we worked in the evenings until all of the painting was finished, I am excited to finally show it all to you. 
 We started by painting the top portion of the walls a creamy white, or Mongolian Blossom if you want to know the "official name".  We went with a semi-gloss that is easier to clean and that would help reflect the light in our dark basement.  Once those two coats were completed, including going all the way up the stairs, it was time to tape it off for our lower color.  
 And what did we choose?  A deep, deep plum purple.  You have to realize a few things when you hear how and why we went with purple.  Our home already has the following colored rooms, 2 different yellows, blue, beige, orange, deep red, green, brown, and white so when going for something new we needed to think outside the box.  That and I really wanted to pick a darker color for the lower portion of the all that would hold up to family room play and activities of our children.  I have learned from the lighter color painted upstairs how much little children mark up the bottom 2 feet of a wall. 
We went with a semi-gloss on this portion as well that should be easier to clean and once again, help reflect the light in the basement.  I have to say that after painting different shades of white for so many days in a row it was really fun to see our deep, rich color put onto the walls.
We love the purple but were also considering painting a middle strip but couldn't seem to agree on what color would be best.  Because of this we picked up a bunch of paint cards from the store and hung them over the purple to see what would look best.
 But after the second coat of purple was applied, the paint dried and the tape was removed we are now second guessing the need for another color strip.  We really just like how the wall looks the way it is.  Once we start putting pictures on the wall, carpet on the floor and furniture all around I think a third color might be too much.
We also realize that another color can be added at any time and so for the moment we are going to just sit tight with what we have.  There are a lot more steps to make this basement into the room we have planned for it to be.  With the painting down progress can continue.




July 20, 2012

Friday Garden Update - View from Within

If you have been around Fairbanks this week you would know that we are NOT suffering from a heat wave like the lower 48.  Actually in fact it has been cold and rainy all week, much to my mother's dismay.
 But even with the colder temperatures the garden in doing well, and I don't have to spend as much time  watering!  We could use one or two hot days for all of our blossoms to spring into actual vegetables but even in the rain we have growing broccoli, peas, tiny green beans and blossoms that want to produce fruit on our squash plants. 
 But the real action that is going on these day is inside our greenhouse.  Last night I just had that feeling like I wanted to run away, do you know the feeling?  But it was late at night, cold, rainy and I didn't really want to spend the fuel to drive into town so instead I just ran away to my greenhouse.  I wish you all come come visit with me in there.  It is such a sanctuary of green, growth, and when you are dry surrounded by plants and at the same time hearing rain pour on the roof there really is a peace that fills your soul.  I am so thankful to have such a wonderful evening chore of taking care of the plants, inside.
 This week I am taking care of a friend's garden while she is out of town.  When I was in her greenhouse I noticed that the pumpkin plant she had inside had a ton of blossoms and several small pumpkins already growing.  This made me realize that my plants are a little behind.  I am growing five pumpkin plants this year and they are in the lower garden.  They are growing ok and several have blossoms but they are a little slower and there are no signs of baby pumpkins anywhere to be seen.  Inspired by my friend I had Josh help me transplant three of my plants into buckets and moved them into the greenhouse.  Now comes the experiment to see how they do vs. the two I left outside.  Hopefully the move this late in their growth doesn't slow them down too much.  I am dreaming of pumpkins in the fall, hopefully this switch makes those dreams come true.
 The other items in the greenhouse love being inside.  Our tomato plants are huge and covered in blossoms and tiny tomatoes that we watch grow bigger every day.  We know that once those tomatoes get larger and start turing red that the plants' branches are going to get heavier and heavier.  So last night Josh strung some wide rope over the outside of the plants to help catch them if they start to fall.  Each plant is already strung up vertically but our Valley Girl (plants that produce big tomatoes) are pretty wide and this will help a lot.
Our grape tomatoes are also doing great and I couldn't help sharing at least one picture with you of all the tomatoes we have growing right now.  I made myself stop at just one picture but it is so exciting.  How thankful I am to have this greenhouse and all that growing for us this season.

July 19, 2012

Another House Project

The thing about building a house yourself is that there is always something that needs to be done.  Once that project then there is something else.  Yes, we do take breaks from now and then and just relax but that hasn't been the pace lately.  Josh is motivated and going strong, I will help foster energy any way I can.
The project that was accomplished, in between paint drying in the basement, this past weekend was in our arctic entry way.  This area of the house has needed flooring for quite some time but there has been reasons it couldn't be done.  Last summer this is where my parent's dog shoeless slept so we weren't going to put new flooring in then.  When shoeless left winter arrived and since this area isn't heated we couldn't do flooring then.  Once again we are in summer again and this is our season to complete the flooring.
The first step is to lay a new subfloor down over the OSB.  This subfloor is necessary to ensure the new visible floor adheres to the subfloor (this wouldn't happen if it was placed right onto the OBS flooring)
 The next step was laying out the design for the flooring.  You see we already had 2/3 of the tiles that we needed.  Unable to find the remaining 13 tiles in the same shade we went for something that would go with what we originally had.  
 Josh is such an artist that when it came to laying out something that would look good I put all of the decision into his hands.  This project was also a fun one for Abigail since most of Josh's work is out of her area.  She loved watching her Dada work and really enjoyed "helping".  Josh enjoyed the "help" for a little bit too.  Soon enough though I heard the frustration in his voice and Abigail and I headed upstairs to work on a different project for a short time.
But before long we were called down to see the finished product.  Oh how wonderful it looks, and feels.  This area is so much nicer to now walk into compared to what it used to be.  How thankful I am that even though we have many projects to do this one can officially be crossed off this list! (quick note regarding Abigail's face, this is the smile I get when I ask her to smile for the camera these days, oh how this girl makes me laugh)

July 18, 2012

Second Harvest

In June I posted about our Rhubarb plants and how we were able to get a great first harvest out of them.
Well, with our wonderful summer weather the Rhubarb has been growing great and it was time once again to harvest our three plants.  Josh is the rhubarb harvest king around here and is so good to me by doing it.  He picks the rhubarb and then brings it in and dices it all up.
Most of the time when we harvest Rhubarb, like in June, it just goes in the freezer to be used later for pies, cakes and scones.  But this harvest was destined for something a little different.  Several years ago I had cooked up rhubarb sauce and canned it.  Of those cans from years ago I found only one still left in my pantry, time to replenish the stash. 
After Josh chopped all the rhubarb, I cooked it down and processed the cans.  This picture doesn't do it completely justice but the jars are a really pretty pink.  And not only do they look pretty but they taste great as well.  Our shortcake, pancakes, yogurts and so much more will be wonderfully flavored in the months to come. 


July 17, 2012

A Project for BK Jr.

It seemed like when I was pregnant with Abigail I was always working on a project for her.  Everyone says that it is different with a second child and boy are they right.  It is not that we aren't excited about the arrival of BK Jr, I promise we will figure out what his name will be someday, it is just life is busy, our toddler is busy and the baby's due date is set for the "future".  Last week when I hit 31 weeks I kind of hit a wall of panic.  The fact of the matter is that we are going to have a second child and that child is going to be here sooner rather then later.  
We were very blessed by friends and family when we were pregnant with Abigail so we have a lot of baby/infant things here at the house all ready for BK Jr, they just all need to be taken out of storage but that is a different day.  So even with all we have I am realizing that are still have a few things to do to introduce our little boy into Abigail's girly world.  This mobile was found at a garage sale last week for the steep price of $1, my kind of deal.  The situation was that the string for one of the little cars had been broken off.  So I bought it home and as I considered how to fix the one broken string I realized it would be easier to cut off the other three strings and replace them all with matching ribbon.  
Once the mobile was fixed I looked at it sitting on the kitchen table and realized the best place for it was the cradle.  I know we still have have weeks to go but the act of setting up the cradle, putting in the fresh bedding and then adding BK Jr's new mobile was all very reassuring to me.  Yes, there is still a lot to do for this little boy and yes, I am at 32 weeks today so the "future" when we meet him isn't that far off but no matter when he comes, we will be ready even if all the projects aren't 100% done yet.

July 16, 2012

Going White

Josh has been working so hard, hours upon hours, since last week's basement update and the results show it.
 Last weekend he finished up the mudding and taping and then all of the dusty sanding that goes along with that job.  Soon the basement was ready for the next step.  So armed with a shop vac and rags he got to work cleaning the walls and floor of all residual drywall dust.  This step was important since the next thing in line was primer and when it was put on the walls Josh wanted to be sure it stuck.
When you look at our basement room there seem to be a lot of corners and edges that take extra time when it comes to priming and painting but one by one they were all covered by primer and wow, what a difference that made already.
But Josh wasn't finished yet.  Next came the white.  Josh used a flat white paint to do the ceiling and walls twice over the primer.  He even painted a fresh coat of paint up the stairwell, what I did last fall, since it was pretty banged up from life over the past year.  At this point you can better believe that Josh was pretty sick of painting (I helped in the evenings after Abigail was in bed but during the day time hours Josh was on his own in the basement).  With all this painting Josh was happy the ceiling was done but the walls still needed a little color.  And boy is that the fun part.  Stay tuned for more basement updates later this week!

July 13, 2012

Friday Garden Update

This is going to be a really fast post today because it is super late on Thursday night and I need to get to bed!!  I try and wait until the last part of Thursdays to put together these garden posts so I can show you the most up to date growth that we are seeing.
 First things first, the garden overview.  I love looking back at these overview pictures each week, at the end of the summer I think I will put together a post of them for you to see the changes over the summer.  Right now everything is big, green and getting ready to burst.  (we ate our first zucchini with dinner last night, so good)
 I wanted to show you a close up of this little sad part of our garden.  Sad only because it is bare right now but not for long.  You see I am not the type of person who stops their dinner preparations to go out the garden, pick lettuce, clean lettuce, spin dry the lettuce and then make the salad.  I am much more the type of person who will pull frozen peas out of the freezer because I am intent on making dinner.  So the other day the lettuce was getting super long and Josh just harvested it all at once.  We brought it in and that night my mother spent the time and cleaned it all for us.  Let me tell you, the salads we have had have been amazing and that is simply due to the fact that the lettuce is in the fridge and ready for use.  The plan is that this area will regrow before the lettuce in the house is finished, we will have to see if that plan works out.  If you notice in the overall picture there is another brown spot.  That is because our radishes bolted and so we just pulled them all.  This is year three of bad radishes, I only keep trying because Josh loves them.  Well, in their place I planted another package of lettuce seeds.  In a month when our current lettuce area is about done in we will have fresh for another month or so.  
I also couldn't help but take a picture of these beautiful flowers for you, this is our pea patch.  We have so many blossoms on the tomatoes, beans, peas, squash and more it is all very exciting.  We are starting to see our first broccoli heads, tomatoes, squash and more as they keep growing.  The time to start producing is almost upon us.

July 12, 2012

New Additions

In the past month we have had some new additions to our home that I just realized I haven't been able to share yet.
 Our first addition comes with a little history.  When Josh moved into our little tiny apartment just before we were married the apartment had only a college fridge.  Knowing that two of us would live there he thought it would be good to buy a fridge that would at least hold a gallon of milk and so we went to the store and he found this small, yet full sized, fridge.  It has worked great for the past 6 1/2 years but beware, if you fill it too full everything freezes.  With the addition of mother living with us this summer, a new baby on the way, and the produce coming from our garden the need for a full sized fridge has become a little more evident.  So one Wednesday mother, Abigail and I all rolled up our sleeves, emptied our little fridge and cleaned it in and out.
 Then we took this picture and put our little, food freezing, but faithful fridge on craig's list.
 All because we were trading out our little 10 cubic foot (this was the freezer and fridge combined size) for this beautiful new 23 cubic foot refrigerator.  As my mother-in-law warned it didn't take us long to fill this one up but it is a good full.  Containers are visible, our britta of filtered water is actually inside the fridge instead of out (the taste of cool water is amazing), and a trip to the store for produce doesn't have to bring fear that the lettuce will all freeze before we eat it.  As for the little fridge, it wasn't on Craig's list more than a few hours before it was found by someone looking for just that fridge and their day was made.
Our second new house addition are these two kitchen stools.  We found these a few weeks ago at a garage sale that was a very spontaneous stop on the way home from town.  We had talked about getting stools for this area of the house for awhile now but I never really wanted to since something big would just get in the way of walking around.  But these stools are perfect in their low profile way for our kitchen bar.  Plus you can't beat the deal we got for them, a good garage sale find is such a joy.  

July 11, 2012

Hard Job of Mothering

I mentioned last week, in addition to the past several months, that Abigail is big into imitating these day.  One of the main things I see in her play is her view of my mothering, the good and the bad.
But unlike me Abigail has taken on a bigger role of mothering multiple babies at once.  Every morning Abigail is allowed to pick toys out of her toy box to play with for the day and the number one items chosen EVERY DAY are her babies and a blanket or two.  Abigail takes this job of mothering very seriously and so it is an all day, every day, thing.  She wraps her babies up and rocks them and she is often seen walking around shaking a baby while saying Shh, shhh.
Abigail also feeds her babies throughout the day.  (note that she is opening her mouth in order to get Anna to open her's for a spoonful of something great)  We found that Abigail's high chair can be easily lowered and thus when she is not eating herself I lower the chair down and she uses it to feed her children.
And just like every mother knows, nap time is essential for babies and mothers alike.  Here Abigail has taken on a third baby to care for and put to sleep.  What a joy my girl is to watch.  She is a very caring mother, but luckily these babies don't mind an occasional drop on the head and also being naked.  You see Abigail is going through a pretty serious stage in her loving of babies where none of her dolls can wear clothes.  If I put an outfit on one of her dolls there is panic until the clothes come off, so strange but by talking to other mothers I found that this is a pretty common stage for most little girls.  As I watch Abigail with her babies I know she is going to love mothering her brother this fall, just have to watch her closely to make sure she doesn't drop him on his head or take his clothes off all day, ha ha.

July 10, 2012

Lists

I know I have mentioned recently that time seems to be going fast but as each day flies by that feeling gets stronger every day.  Today marks 31 weeks of pregnancy for our little boy and the thought that we have only 9 weeks, or in reality it could be anywhere from 5 to 11 weeks, left leaves me a little panicked.   
My way of coping with these fast days and the every ticking clock is by making lists.  For my birthday my mother bought me this white board that now hangs in the hallway at the top of the basement stairs, right off the kitchen.  I used to use little note pads and every day I was rewriting my lists and having multiple papers laying around. I love that this has all gone away due to my new board.

So if any point of my day I wonder what the best thing is to do I just can refer to what is on the board.  What a great thing for pregnancy forgetfulness that seems to over take me these days.  The middle list is the list of things I would like to do before BK junior arrives, oh boy there is a lot on that list and every day I add to it.  On that note I should stop writing this post and get back to work.  Just a few weeks left to go.

July 9, 2012

Creating Dust

Since last Monday's post on the basement a lot of work has been done, hours every night worth.  (there is a lot of drywall, seams and screws in this basement of our's)
 But Josh has been super focused, dedicated and hardworking and because of that the work is moving along great.  Josh had to work on the 4th of July but was given Friday off work.  With that extra day Josh worked like a crazy man all day finishing one of the last coats of mud on the basement seams.
Then with fans blowing all night and most of Saturday, the time came for Josh to start the sanding process.  What a dusty job this is but he has rigged up the shop vac in one window and a fan in another so that more dust gets pumped outside than stays in.  After the first big sand on Saturday afternoon Josh put another layer of touch up mud on more of the basement and he noted that the heavily mudded areas from Friday were still having trouble drying.  So Sat. night he started a small but super hot fire in the wood stove.  Luckily it was a windy and cool night so that we could open up the upstairs and not get too hot but the fire did the trick for the basement.  Yesterday the sanding continued on the now dry areas and the end of the whole drywall portion of finishing our basement is in sight.  Josh figures a few more evenings of sanding and touching up here and there and we will be ready for paint, woo hoo.