Saturday, December 25, 2010
Dad and I finally, successfully made Mississippi Mud today - we've been trying for about 15 years. Grandma Jean sent me her recipe, and we've been trying to adjust it for the elevation difference, and we've never been able to do it until today. WOOHOO! now it feels more like Christmas. :) Its funny how there are some things that just mean Christmas, and this year Mississippi Mud is one of those things.
Of course we've also been making all of our usual treats as well. We made pumpkin pie for mom, and super chex mix, cinnamon steamers, candy pretzel treats, and 2 very large pans of cinnamon rolls. Plus all the stuff we'll make tomorrow too, and the stuff we've been making for the last week or two. I haven't really eaten much of it, a bite here or there, but mostly I've just been having so much fun making stuff and cooking. Its a great creative outlet.
We opened our presents tonight after our usual Christmas Eve breakfast dinner of sausage (both link and patty), hashbrowns and eggs, and cinnamon roll. We used to always make a cinnamon roll wreath or candy cane shape, but it leaked all the good stuff out. It looked fabulous, but dried out quickly. So, a few years ago I made an adjustment and just started making cinnamon rolls instead of a fancy log. They don't look as pretty, but they're tasty. Especially this year. I finally managed to make the Disneyland cinnamon roll recipe to perfection. :) They're so good. This is a recipe I've been trying to get good at for years. There used to be these really really (I mean really) good cinnamon rolls at the Wallowa County State Fair, if you worked in the food booth, or were there in the morning. I've been trying to teach myself to make them ever since then (another 20 year project), and finally a friend passed me a link to the Disneyland cinnamon roll recipe, and its just like what we used to get at the fair. Very exciting, and very tasty. And its not something I would have ever thought of to try, so I would never have perfected it. There is vanilla pudding in the dough. Total genius. Oh, and today for the first time I also managed to get a mixer to knead bread the way I would. It was the coolest thing. Perfect Mississippi Mud, perfect cinnamon rolls, and lots of fun to boot.
After dinner we passed out the presents, well the ones that were small enough to pass, the big ones we just kind of laid out or stood up. Justin built some AMAZING stuff this year, and I'm so so excited. He built a pantry cupboard for mom and dad that holds our big buckets, cans, jars, etc. Its huge and so cool! then he also built a copper pot rack for dad, and he built the spice shelf that I designed for them too. He was a Christmas rockstar this year, and I'm so grateful. I've been having some depression issues, and having a hard time, and he has done SO much to step in and do much more than I could have even thought of in a good year, let alone this year. I'm so grateful!
Anyway, he built that stuff for mom and dad, and then he built me the coolest sewing table for my new machine (I wonder how long I will have it before its not my "new machine" anymore?). Its fabulous! He got a local cabinet maker to make a custom piece of corian counter, and then he build these adjustable legs, and a special drawer, and its as sturdy as can be, and beautiful! PLUS mom and dad bought me this extender table for my machine, so that I can sew much much easier. Bernina machines used to come with a custom extender table, but they don't anymore, and I've been having a really hard time sewing and quilting without it. But now I have a super duper table, and a super super extender for my machine. Plus I bought myself a new iron during black friday after Thanksgiving, so I'm a happy to sew girl now! I've got the full meal deal.
Everyone also got some other cool things. Dad of course gets to go to Africa, that was his big present. Dad bought mom a laptop, also super cool. Then they each got a couple little things. I bought Justin a really nice table saw (which he got early, and used to make all the beautiful projects he did), and I got him Despicable Me, and Shrek the Final Chapter (or whatever its called). Anyway, it was lovely, and fun, and OH, mom bought the dogs each a cookie monster doll, and we got the cat some catnip. They were all SO SO funny, and we all laughed and laughed. The 2 dogs and 1 cat were all so excited with their presents, it was really cute and funny. We also took lots of pictures which will be fun to scrapbook soon, and I'll post a bunch too.
Well, I just wanted to write this and share it while it was still fresh in my mind, and to share the joy of our day and the season. Love to everyone! Merry Christmas! :)
Thursday, November 25, 2010
"I don't believe in superstars,
Organic food and foreign cars.
I don't believe the price of gold;
The certainty of growing old.
That right is right and left is wrong,
That north and south can't get along.
That east is east and west is west.
And being first is always best.
But I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in Mom and Dad.
And I believe in you.
Well, I don't believe that heaven waits,
For only those who congregate.
I like to think of God as love:
He's down below, He's up above.
He's watching people everywhere.
He knows who does and doesn't care.
And I'm an ordinary man,
Sometimes I wonder who I am.
But I believe in love.
I believe in music.
I believe in magic.
And I believe in you.
I know with all my certainty,
What's going on with you and me,
Is a good thing.
It's true, I believe in you.
I don't believe virginity,
Is as common as it used to be.
In working days and sleeping nights,
That black is black and white is white.
That Superman and Robin Hood,
Are still alive in Hollywood.
That gasoline's in short supply,
The rising cost of getting by.
But I believe in love.
I believe in old folks.
I believe in children.
I believe in you.
I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in Mom and Dad.
And I believe in you."
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Its been very cold lately, especially for what we've had here the last few years. I wish we had more snow, that would be really nice. At least the ground is getting good and frozen so when Justin wants to go snow machining, they will have a good "base" to go on. :) I actually am looking forward to riding in the little cart thing he built to pull behind the sled. He built it for me because I'm a chicken, and am afraid to ride by myself. :) But I'm okay with that. So for now, we've got the cart, which I've never gotten to ride in, we never had enough snow last year to use it. Come on SNOW!!!
We've started working on little December projects, spent some time at Lowe's yesterday doing some research and looking at things to make and do. I was looking for some discount carpet they'd had there last week, but it was gone, which was very disappointing. It was nice carpet at a good price, so I could afford to do the floor down here which is not looking to good. But alas, it was not to be. Hopefully sometime soon though. We stopped by fred meyer last night to get a couple things, and I was incredibly glad that mom and I had done our holiday meal shopping for the next few weeks before the rush. It was a madhouse in Fred Meyer, totally nuts. Glad I only needed about 5 things. Oh, plus I get to brag, for those who didn't see on facebook - I saved $200 with coupons at the grocery store last week. Totally incredible, I was very proud of myself. Organized my list and my coupons to the order of things in the store so that I remembered to use the coupons and the list, and it was all very efficient.
Justin got his last wisdom tooth out last week. he's been pretty miserable with the pain from them, and so it was good to get the last one out. Its been pretty painful too, and healing slowly, but got him some antibiotics and I think its healing better now. Also got his blood pressure refilled, so maybe his BP will come down now. That would be good.
We're both trying to come up with ways to improve our health. We're thinking about joining a local health club. I'm voting for a machine we could have at the house, because I'm embarrassed to work out in public. But I think the club membership would be good too - more variety and such. We definitely need to do something though. We want to be healthier. I'm working at eating smaller portions and drinking lots more water. I took a class at church a couple years ago, and I wish I remembered more of it, but I don't. What I do remember though is to drink an 8 ounce glass of water before dinner, and eat slower, because then you eat less, but you feel full because the body actually has time to get full, and relay to the brain to stop before we get over-full. So anyway, that's where I'm starting at.
We're also going to take the next steps to starting our family. We have an appointment with an infertility specialist next month in Soldotna. He's supposed to be the best around and comes very highly recommended. We've known since I was about 15 or 16 that I have poly cystic ovarian syndrome, and that it would take extra efforts to have children. Now its time to start those. Hopefully we'll see some results soon. We are really looking forward to expanding our family of 2 to include some little ones. Or tricycle motors as Justin calls them. I call them curtain climbers. :)
We lost our dear great-grandma last week. She was 97 and a half, and a wonderful example of a strong, Christ-like woman. Our neighbor is also very ill, which is very sad too. Its been a very emotional couple of weeks for our family, but we're plugging along, and taking comfort where we can. We know that grandma is so much happier now - she was ready to go home and be with her other family that she's been missing for many years. We miss her of course, but know we'll see her again.
I guess that's everything, except Happy Thanksgiving! Hope everyone reading this has a wonderful, safe, and happy holiday. :)
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Here's a video of what a "catch" of a boat looks like from inside the cab of the machine. Kind of cool. This boat is called "Gamefisher", its a big charter boat. Pretty cool to watch! The only thing you can't really see in the video is that as the boat comes onto the trailer, the machine is pulling forward, so that the boat gets cradled on the trailer, rather than running into and stopping suddenly. Makes a much smoother landing that way.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
There has been a lot of complaining by some people that I don't do anything, and my husband does all the work and support of us. And that I'm greedy, lazy, and the largest pain in the a$$ that they have ever met. Now, I've tried to be nice, I really, really, really have, but seriously, enough already. I thought I might use my blog as a chance to straighten the facts, or at least rant a little and feel better. I don't say any of this to take away from anything that my husband does, and I have put off talking about this for a long time because I don't want anyone to misunderstand what I am trying to say.
Firstly, I have a full time, paid job. I work 40+ hours a week, and am on call 24/7. Sometimes I work until 2 in the morning, frequently I work until midnight. I make good money at what I do, in fact I make the most amount of money that you can make in this job. I've had the same job for 7 years. I pay all my own bills, and all of our bills, except Justin's truck payment which frankly I don't make enough to pay because its freakishly expensive (19% interest rate - holy crap) (thankfully though I had enough saved that I was able to pay it most of last winter). So I work, and I get paid, I pay the bills, and do my very absolute best to provide for my family. Justin works very, very hard. He puts everything he has into running our business in the summer, and works himself into the ground every summer, and in everything that he does. I appreciate and love him for everything that he does, and for the person he is. I also work in our business in the summer as much as I am able, as well as doing my other job, which is 7 days a week, 365 days a year, every day of every month.
Secondly, no, I don't get up at 4, 5, or 6 AM, because I often work until at least midnight, and often later. I appreciate that other people's lives allow them to go to bed and get up early. My life doesn't. My work doesn't. My health doesn't. After I work until the late night/early morning, I still need to take care of my home and husband. I do laundry, dishes, straighten up, take care of the pets, keep the wood stove going so the house stays warm all night, etc., all after I get done working at night. So no, I'm not going to get up 3 hours after I go to bed just to make you feel better. Maybe you don't see what I do because you don't live here, but that doesn't mean I'm not up working while other people are sleeping.
Third, of course you are free to think I'm a pain in the "behind", all you want, you will anyway no matter what I say. I don't agree, naturally, but hey, whatever. I know the truth, and I know what I did and how I behaved, and if that's considered being a pain in the behind, well then that's just weird.
Like I said, this rant is mostly so that maybe I can get this monkey off my back, and out of my head, and move on. If someone who thinks these things about me reads this, then great. You should have asked me, rather than trashed me, but you didn't. So I'm writing about it here, because its my blog and I can do that. I hate writing about this online, and sharing this with people, because our finances and our working schedules are OUR business, not anyone else's, but I'm so incredibly tired of being accused of runing Justin into the ground, and doing nothing to help. I'm tired of feeling angry, and frustrated, and like I've somehow done something wrong to be treated this way. But I haven't. Its the issue of the person or people who have made the accusations. So I will say again: I work....for pay....every day....I sleep when I can.....Get off my back.
And very lastly, I am VERY thankful for everyone who supports me and believes in me, and loves and trusts me. I love my husband, family and friends!
Its been so long since I wrote last, I'm not sure what to write, or even if anyone checks the blog anymore!
Its working up to winter here, after a pretty crappy summer (second coldest/wettest summer since they started keeping track in 1929). Had a lovely warm September, with sun almost every day, and the warmest temps we've had all summer. But 2 days ago someone flipped the switch and we're heading down the fast track into winter, which is okay by me and Justin. We're tired. We're ready to get some firewood done, and hibernate.
I bought a new sewing machine, something I've been saving up for for a very long time. Thank you Alaska Permanent fund for giving me the extra push! I bought a Bernina 1008 (or is it 1080? I can never remember, but I'm pretty sure its 1008). I'm very excited, its the hardcore, non computerized machine, the current version of mom's old machine basically. I got no electronics (other than basic power) on purpose, because I don't want to fight a computer when I sew. I have to do enough computer battles when I scrapbook. When I sew, I just want to do my thing! I had a quilt cut out this spring, that I have been saving to sew with my new machine, so hopefully I will get to feeling better and do that, maybe the end of the week??? We'll see. But I'm excited. I'll post pictures soon (I hope).
Our other fun purchase this fall was a compound bow, for playing with here in the yard. I took archery in college as one of my P.E. classes (I know, cool huh?), and really enjoyed it, and have been wanting ever since then to get a set up of my own. Now we have one, and that's exciting. I've never used a compound bow before this week, in class we used a recurve, but the compound is cool. Now we just need to get is sighted. We've been sharing it, since its adjustable to both of us, but its not really fun to share, since the other guy just has to stand there and watch the other one have fun. So I'm seeing another bow in our future, his and hers models. :) I'm looking forward to having an outdoor activity that I enjoy, that we can do in any weather, and any time we want, plus its basically silent, so no worries about bothering anyone.
We had a pretty good boat launch season, with 80+ more launches than last year. Unfortunately we "lost" one of our machines, doing a vessel salvage, so we had to buy another one in the middle of the season. That pretty much screwed up our profits, which was really really really lame. But looking at the more positive side, we have a better machine now. We were really hoping to travel this fall, but unless we have a much more frugal winter than I think we will, I don't think we will be able to. We really wanted to go visit, and get refreshed, but we'll figure out something to do at home I guess.
Oh, we got a car, it gets 31 mpg, which is great, it only cost $1250, and only has 116,000 miles on it. Its awesome! Plus its a BMW, which is pretty neat too. :) Its supposed to be my car - but in the thousand plus miles we've had it, I've driven about 60 of them, if that tells you anything. But at least Justin likes it I guess, looking at the positive side, or trying to anyway. Now we can travel around, and do errands a little more affordably. Last week we took a drive that would have cost $300 plus in gas for the truck, but only cost about $55 in the car. That's a huge savings! A couple trips like that and we've paid for it in saved gas alone, so that's pretty cool.
Other than that, this Sunday was our first day to go back to church. We were in too much pain to sit past more than the first hour, but we hit the most important part, so that's good. It was really nice to sit and enjoy the music, fellowship, and such.
UM, I guess I don't have a lot more to put in this post. I've been looking for a picture from this summer to put up, but I haven't even had time to take them off the camera yet, so I guess I will post sans picture. Sorry, I'll try to post something more interesting next time! :)
Monday, March 29, 2010
We went to Anchorage this weekend, and it was so nice to get away. We've been stuck at home for so long, because we were so broke we really couldn't put gas in the car. Sad but true. But we were able to go to the big city, and get some parts that Justin and dad need for fixing everything. I got to go to the mall, which was nice. I found nothing to buy, or at least nothing I thought was worth the price they were selling it for. I love the brazilian nut body butter from the Body Shop, but it was $20 for a container of it, and I just wouldn't pay that. Then they had some earrings that I wanted, but they were kind of ugly smiley faces, and they were $11, and I know its silly, but they were the same earring we paid about $4 for in the early 90's and I just wasn't going to pay that much for them. Something I'm sure you're all interested in. :)
My sad news is that we sold our goats, which was really hard, especially since Gabby just had her babies 2 weeks ago. They went to a great home, Beth, the woman we bought them from originally bought them back, and she was excited, and her girls were excited, so that helped, but I still cried, and am sad they are gone. We just absolutely could not take care of them in the summer working the hours we do. Couldn't happen. But we put almost 2+ years into them, and I loved them. Someday when our lives are more stable again, we will get goats again, but for now, my Susan and Gabby have been re-homed. Super sad about that.
Mom's having another procedure on Thursday, still trying to work up to a hysterectomy. Hopefully something good will come of thursdays procedure and she can get the help and recovery that she needs to move past this particular stage in her life and feel better.
I've been making bunches of earrings, I made something like 15 pairs last week. I saw a cool craft show on tv, and she made a super simple pair of earrings, and it gave me all kinds of ideas, so I've been busy making them. I think I've made a pair to go with every shirt or dress mom or I own. I might have a few more to make though, to go with the fabric we have for new clothes. :)
I guess that's all my news. We're working, goats are gone, and it is still snowing! GAH! Enough snow. I've been happy with all the snow storms we have had, until this morning, and when I opened the curtain when I got up, and it was a white out, I was not impressed! I'm glad for the moisture, but I have gardening to do, and seeds to start before I go back to work at the launch, and I need warmth for that! I really don't want to have to give up my baking center to make it a planting center. I will, but I don't want to. Oh, and we're going to get some new chicks this week or next. I'm looking forward to that. Ok, well, I guess that's it. Oh, and I got a new printer/scanner/copy/fax machine on sale at Fred Meyer, and sent my first fax today, and it was awesome! I loved it. Its been SO hard to try and run a business without a printer, I mean, there is a ton of stuff that needs printed running a business, and now I have a printer, a copier, a scanner, and a fax machine. woohoo! I know, I'm a geek. :) But I'm an excited geek.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
It started out with Justin still being sick, and having big red splotches and sores all over his legs (which were also very painful), plus a fever, and general ickiness. Then tuesday his feet swelled to twice their normal size. time for a doctor visit. Took him to the local satellite clinic here of a larger clinic in Homer. They were completely freaked out, said it was the weirdest thing they'd ever seen, had no clue what it was or how to get rid of it. SO, the sent us in for blood work, chest x-ray, and to make an appointment for an abdominal ultrasound because they said his spleen was enlarged and ready to burst. After the tests, went to their big clinic in Homer to see another doctor, she thought she knew what the spots were, but didn't know what was causing them. Told us he might have leukemia, hodgkins lymphoma, heart failure, kidney failure, liver failure, TB, pancreatitis (pancreitis?), mono, strep, bacterial infection, viral infection, cancer, etc. Basically scared the crap out of me. Wednesday I made Justin an appointment with a "real" doctor, at another clinic. Thursday morning was the ultrasound, then appointment with the "new" doctor. The new doctor walked in, looked at Justin's legs, said you have Eurythma(something or other) nodosum, and here's how we'll treat it. Said it could be cause by something serious, but he didn't think so, he said that what happened was Justin got sick with the flu, or strep, or some sort of basic winter illness, and then his immune system went to work, eliminated the illness, but then his immune system just kept cranking in overdrive, and that was what caused the inflammation, swelling, fever, etc. His immune system sort of turned on his body. He said if it was something else that caused it, then that other illness will show up when we clear up the leg inflammation, but that generally it was just his immune system going way overboard. He'd treated it before, and said it could take 6 months to clear up, we'll just have to see, but he wasn't concerned or anything, just very competent and knowledgeable. I really liked him, I had seen him when I was in the ER this summer, and liked him, so when I couldn't get Justin in to his regular doctor, luckily I was able to get him in to Dr. Brady instead.
So now Justin has his pills, and he feels like the inflammation is reducing a little, so that's great. His feet and ankles still swell when he's upright too long, but we were able to go to church for an hour this morning, so that was an improvement. The first time we've been able to go in February at all.
Other than illness, we're still waiting for our loan to be approved, and hoping and praying desperately while we wait. Mom and I went to Soldotna on friday, that was fun. We had a really good time at Joann fabric looking at patterns and fabric - we haven't been able to do that in years. So we're looking forward to working some new patterns and making some new clothes in the coming weeks. Should be fun.
I made a skirt yesterday with mom's advice and instruction. We had a little trouble with our math, some measuring issues, and some fit issues, but eventually got it done. Its a blue corduroy skirt, looks good I think, although not how I pictured it, but then clothes I make almost never do. I have trouble with that. I actually get really frustrated making clothes because clothes have to be altered to fit me well, and its hard to do that without having to redo stuff over and over, and anyway, its really easy for me to get frustrated making clothes. I love to quilt - totally love it, in fact I made a small quilt to give to the women's shelter this week, but making clothes is harder. I go through phases where I enjoy it, and I seem to be in one of those now, so maybe I'll get some new clothes done soon. That would be nice. Especially because I already have the fabric, I just need to put in the needle time and get it sewn.
My poor kitty has a deep wound on his backside. The neighbors cat bit him, we think trying to bite off something rival male cats would be trying to bite off if you get my drift. But he has this big sore now, about the size of a quarter or a little bigger, maybe between the size of a quarter and a fifty cent piece (ok, how many people remember 50 cent pieces? I do, my grandparents sent them all the time, and I have a good collection of them around here). Anyway, we cleaned his wound, and gave him some love. We're not sure if we'll have to take him to the vet or not. If we do I guarantee the neighbor is paying for it. You can't leave town for months at a time, and just leave your pets alone! Very frustrating, and I don't do well with my kitty being sick or wounded, poor little guy.
So, that's pretty much what's been happening with us. It was really nice and warm, but now its pretty cold and windy, guess winter decided to come back to us. No goat babies yet. We sold our billy goat (by Billy Bob!), and we're pretty sure we're going to sell our herd after Gabby has her babies. I love them, and we love the milk, but we don't have time or energy to take care of them in the summer, and I guess they just dont' fit our lifestyle right now. Maybe when our lives are more stable and less up in the air. It will be hard to get rid of them, although I'm still pretty heartsick over all the ones that died last year and the drama with that. I'll miss my Susan. We'll see what happens though, but I think that's how we're leaning.
Ok, now I think that's everything going on around here. :)
Friday, February 19, 2010
We've been really sick this winter, a lot. Poor Justin just can't get well. He's on a strict vitamin regimin now, we're hoping it will help. We just keep passing stuff around, and getting sick over and over and over. Makes a looooong winter when you can't get well, and you can't get anywhere, and you're broke...... Thankfully its february, and warm now, so maybe we're looking up.
Today I tried on every piece of clothing I own, and sorted it down to almost nothing. I think I have about 10-12 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 2 dresses and a skirt. Not much to wear.....so we (mom, Justin and I) went through all my clothes to decide what looked good, what fit, what didn't, what was flattering, etc. It was really helpful to me. I'm not much of a fashionista, I don't really worry about what's "in", I just want to look good and have stuff fit comfortably, but that's still really hard, especially in the sizes I wear, with the budget I have this winter, and with how hard I am on clothes. Its very difficult. But this also ties into my other news, I joined a "Biggest Loser" competition that my work is offering for this spring and summer! I'm really excited about it actually, the prize is $1500, and I really am looking forward to that extra motivation to get healthy and skinnier. Plus yesterday I worked out, which is a big step. Eating isn't really the biggest problem for me, its not exercising. I always think that my daily activity is enough, but obviously it isn't. :) So that's what I'm working on right now - designing some new clothes, and losing weight.
We're also in the seemingly never ending search for money for our business. We're having a major change shortage this winter, and its been really hard (as it has been for almost everyone this year). We've applied for several loans, looked for investors, and are in the middle of applying for another loan right now. Its a time consuming, frustrating, scary experience. I guess the upshot is that it has completely re-committed us to paying off as much debt as we can this summer, so that we don't have to go through this again. We are so ready to be debt free, and so tired of the fear and uncertainty that it brings into everything, and so restrictive. Honestly its been a painful, long, frustrating experience, which we hope will start to look up any day now.
On the positive side, our goat Gabby is going to have kids any day now. That is exciting, and a little scary after the mass casualties of last year, but still excited to see what happens. We're selling, or trying to sell, our billy goat. He's not really a good fit for our barn, he's too closely related, and we'd like to bring in a new blood line, instead of kissing cousins, or in this case, kissing half siblings. We'll have to post pics of the new babies when they come.
The dogs are good, the chickens good, cat is a cat, and we're plugging along, hoping to get better, hoping to get the money we need, and hoping for more snow. :)