jen's top 10: homemaking 101

 This year was insane. Lots of hats to juggle, lots of people to be.  For the majority of the year I had to simultaneously be the following: 20hr/week employee, full time chef, full time housekeeper, fully time laundry queen, full time mommy, full time wife, full time wonder woman and part time church worker, virtual family day planner, etc...  And all while handling the stress of the spouses unemployment. Oh but wait, I've always been wonder woman {she says sarcastically}.

No really. It was tough to balance so many different roles.  {Can I get a large mental breakdown on the side please? Wait a minute, make that a super size.}  I really don't know how woman who work 40 or more hours per week and have families do it all.  I'm guessing they can't. That's the only way I can figure it.

Any way, in order for our home to run more smoothly, this year I started doing several small things that have made a major difference. MAJOR I tell you. Here are my top 10:

10.Take care of my clothes as soon as I take them off. Hang them up or put in the correct laundry sorter. NO THROWING THEM ON THE CLOSET FLOOR. Or stuffing in random drawers. Just put them where they go.

9. Use pinchingyourpennies.com to find the best grocery deals.  I don't have to waste time at the store trying to figure out if it's a good deal or not.  Before I create my meal menus I check to see what's on sale, and if I can, plan my menus around that.  {This has gotten a little more difficult since moving to the wilderness since I can't plan my trips to the valley around grocery sales.}

8. Speaking of food, numero ocho is menu planning.  I plan 2 weeks worth of meals at a time.  No more wasting time at night trying to figure out what to have for dinner since I have 14 preplanned choices to choose from. I use the crockpot as often as possible, and frequently cook and freeze my meat in advance.

7. Run 1 load of laundry per day, Monday through Thursday.  I throw it in first thing in the morning, and by mid morning the clothes are folded and put away.  Laundry is the bane of my existence.  I loathe it entirely. I can't think of anything worse than having an entire day devoted to it.  Kill. me. now.  I've tried the "ignore it and it'll just go away" tactic, but as you can guess, that didn't quite work out. By doing it this way, the loads stay small and manageable.

6. Make homemade bread. This may sound like it takes more time than just buying it at the store and it probably does.  But this accomplishes a few things: a) If all else fails and my house is a disaster, at least there's homemade bread in the cupboard.  That makes me feel somewhat accomplished. b)The taste can't even compare to store bought bread, and c)I like to think it makes Deek and Reese feel extra loved to know I take the time to make them something so good from scratch..

5. Vacuum my kitchen every night.  With a shedding dog that lives in my kitchen and a toddler who throws every item of food she comes in contact with on the floor, it's essential.

4. Put my house to bed. After dinner is over we do a clean sweep of the house.  Put everything away - dishes, toys, coats, books, etc... By taking the 10 minutes a night to do this I save myself over an hour the next morning.  I hate, hate, hate cleaning yesterday's mess today.

 3. 1 house cleaning job per day, Monday through Thursday.  I rotate 4 different chores: bathrooms, dusting & oiling, vacuuming, and 1 other deep cleaning item.  Same idea as the laundry - I don't have to devote an entire dreaded day to cleaning.  My house is never perfectly clean at one time, but stays mostly clean most of the time.

2. Run the dishwasher every night after dinner and empty it right away. The next day, instead of putting dirty dishes in the sink, they go straight into the dishwasher.  If I use hand washables during the day I clean them as soon as I'm done using them.  Clutter attracts clutter and this couldn't be truer with dishes.  My dishes never stack up so I never have to spend huge amounts of time to tackle the mounting tower of them in the sink. It's the single greatest housekeeping tip I do.

1. Wake up every morning between 7 and 7:30am.  Reese wakes up between 8:30 and 9:00, so that gives me at least an hour to get ready for the day, scriptures, prayer, start on daily laundry etc...  I find the earlier I get up, the better my day goes.  If I sleep in until Reese wakes up, I feel as though the entire rest of the day I'm fighting to find time to throw on some jeans, let alone apply make up or scripture study.  Whenever I sleep in, by the end of the day I'm usually still in my sweats and nothing has gotten done. Waking up early is magic.

And there you have it.  It sounds like a lot, but honestly, if I stick to these 10 tips my home and family and body and mind are all in order. AKA peace in Jen's world.  Somehow I find myself with more free time than ever before.  And don't get me wrong, I am FAR from perfect when it comes to doing all this.  There are always holidays, sicknesses, 'vacationing from one's duties' weeks, etc.. My home has seen it's far share of disaster moments. I just know that when I do do these things I'm just a happier person and everything else falls into place. And who doesn't need them some of that?

Now if I could only get a handle on all of those papers floating around..


to my reese,

 pursed lips before a kiss

Tonight, you made a puddle of your mama's heart.

After bedtime kisses and songs I laid you down in your crib to tickle and massage your little back like I usually do. After about 5 minutes you turned your head to look right at me. The brightest smile danced across your face.  Then you stood up and pressed your lips together, walked toward me, and leaned in to plant the sweetest unsolicited butterfly kiss any mother has ever known. You laid back down and sealed your declaration of love with another knowing smile.

I so wish you didn't have to grow so fast. I wish you could stay my little Rooster forever and that I would always stay your Baba. But for now I guess all I can do is soak in every love and treasure every fleeting kiss.

It would probably be selfish to keep you forever as mine. The world needs those with big hearts to lead the way. And you my Reese, have a giant heart. So much love to give.

But for now I'll just snuggle you close and call you mine.

jen's top 10: year in review

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair..."

And so he wrote the prologue to my twenty ten. Ol' Chuck Dickens really knew what he was talking about didn't he?

This past year proved to be the ultimate pendulum of emotion and experience.  The year I hope to never repeat, but with personal growth I wish to never trade. It was the year of deepening roots.

But instead of dwelling on heavy things, today I choose to focus on the wonderful events that brought me happiness this year. Because all things have it's equal and opposite reaction {thank you Newton}, 2010 had equal amounts of joy.

Without further adieu:

10. Welcoming 2 new nephews into the world and the announcement of another N grandchild. {Fertility Gods, you may now send another one to us ok? Kthanksbye.}

9. Coming in close contact with moose, naked men, and all manor of wild beasts.

8. Frequent days spent at the pool as a family due to Deek's 'free time'. aka unemployment

7. Adding Keeta to the family. This could also fall under the 'Top 10 Worst Things About 2010.'

6. Moving to the wilderness.

5. We have a graduate!

 4. Disney Land & Newport Beach with the N clan.

3. Watching Reese learn how to sit, crawl, walk, talk, discover, etc..

2. Deek got a job!!!

1. Did I mention Deek got a job? Oh yeah, and it just happens to be right up his dream job alley. Hallelujah!

See? Much to love about this past year. It was a roughy but a goodie. Here's to hoping {and crossing my fingers, and blowing pixie dust, and rubbing the lucky rabbit foot} this next one is even better.

Cheers to the New Year!

jen's top 10: christmas edition

I'm a list person. And since this year ends in such a perfectly list appropriate '10', I'm giving it its' due honor and going out with a big list shebang. This week, each blog post will be formatted in list form. A top ten of sorts, of course. And what better way to start than recapping my top 10 favorite things about this Christmas.

10. In light of the commercialism we all secretly love {tell me you don't love receiving gifts and I'll call you a big ole' liar, liar pants on fire}, my list begins with a couple star gifts we were gifted. The first being the Dueter Kid Comfort III child carrier courtesy of Mom and Dad H. Angels sang and time stood still as this package was unwrapped.

9. Reese's new rocking chair. An old fashioned wood rocking chair updated with bright colors and spinning alphabets.  She was all but done with the whole Christmas thing until my madre brought out this gift. It was love at first site.

8. Luminaries. My parent's neighborhood has done this every year for at least 30 years.  Every house, every street. The local scout troupes take turns lighting the public areas. It's simply not Christmas without seeing them. This year we all piled in the car sans headlights to admire the lighted fairy land, and Reese decided no seat would do unless it was in the driver's seat with Papa {or Pappy as she endearingly calls him}.

7. Waking up to stockings Christmas morning the N* {my maiden name} way. Stockings overflowing with gifts and goodies in the natural state. AKA unwrapped. Didn't realize how much I missed it.

6. Inception. Not to be confused with conception. Way, way, WAAAAY late on the bandwagon for this one, but I finally watched it. Wow. Kudos to the film makers for creating a novel, creative, shear entertaining film. And guys, he was totally in reality at the end.

5. A break from the lodge. Two and a half blissful days of no work, total relaxation and being together with family in the valley.

4. Feeding Reese fermented pomegranates.  It's true. I took a taste test first and all I thought was, "Huh... these taste like they've been soaking in 7 up for a couple days. Eh, they're probably fine."  Deek took one whiff and delivered the news. Too bad he was a couple hours late. Needless to say, she was a big fan. Note to self: 'No Alcoholic Beverages {or pomegranates} Allowed' speech should probably happen in the relative future.

3. Brad's wrapping job for Deek's gift. In my immediate family Deek is known for his mad wrapping skills. He's a wrapping fiend. And so in honor of King Deek Brad totally brought his A game. And yes. That's a painted, hand carved from styrofoam winterscape.

sorry you're blinking brad! only one I had...

2. Being with family. Particularly having Deek's entire immediate family together. That hasn't happened for a looooong time.

1. Drinking in the peace and joy that come from reflecting about the birth of Christ. This year I felt an elevated reverence for the holy day that I haven't felt before.  Perhaps it's because this last year, in a mile of understanding I feel like I've gained a couple more inches in knowing Him.  Who He is and how profound His love is for me.  My true personal Savior.


snowed in

This storm has been a doozy. It makes the infamous Blizzard of 2010 look like a newborn kitten.

{side note: Speaking of that infamous Blizzard, last week we had a private meet and greet with the primary weather man from a local news station, courtesy of our friend's other concert guests. I may have accidentally brought up the Blizzard of 2010.  He couldn't believe I dare bring up the "B" word. Oopsy. Slowly put your hands up and back away. BACK AWAY. Note to self, when making casual conversation with a weather man, discussing the weather is not a safe topic. neither is discussing possibley incorrect forecasting.}

Anyway, back to the point of this post.  In the last day and a half it's dropped over 2 1/2 feet of snow.  That's a whole lotta precipitation folks.

To show you what snow measured in feet looks like, I went on a little snow tour during Reese's nap to shoot some pics. Your welcome. And keep in mind it has snowed even more since these have been taken.

First up, our local National Forest sign:

Not too bad right?

Next we'll play Where's Waldo. Errr, Where's the Snowmobile may be more fitting:

That's a fun game. Let's play again. This time, we're looking for my white Honda Civic. Look closely. Hint: you may be able to pick out the sideview mirror:

Yeah. That might be a problem.

Despite the inconveniences the snow may bring, it's worth every last shovel of snow to look out my horizon and see this.

Simply stunning. Winter wonderland, indeed.


meeting mr. c

Last night around 8:30 the winds blew in a surprise visitor. From the North Pole, of course.

I had sent Deek to brave the snowy roads and deliver some Christmas cookies to the neighbors {relative term} while I stayed home to pick up the days clutter.

As I was washing the umpteenth measuring cup I heard a jingle. Like a real Kris Kringle jingle.

"Who in the world?"....

Just then, a full, decked out in red suit complete with black boots and jingle bells and a snowy white beard Santa Claus appeared out of the dark night at my back door.


And do you know how hard it is to get to my back door? Hard enough that Mr. C was only our 2nd unannounced visitor ever.

He's a good man, that Mr. C.

He had been visiting some family parties in our ward that evening and thought he'd just swing by to give a little pre-Christmas treat to Reese.

And by swing by, I mean venture 8 miles into unplowed snowy roads and hike the several hundred yards through fresh powder to my door.

What a dear, dear man.

This is how Reese chose to thank him:

As you can tell, she's elated.

Essential childhood "Sitting on Santa's Lap While Screaming" picture? Check.

After last night's reception, we're really hoping Santa decides to make a return trip later this week.

Please cross your fingers for us.


really? right before christmas?

We had a fabulous escapade down to the valley this week. The height of it all was seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform with David Archuleta. Smooth as butter, his voice is.

We returned home about an hour ago, and happily meeting me at my home was Mr. Frozen Pipes.

Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Quadruple million ugh.

No showers, no washing dishes, no bedtime baths, no water for cooking, nothin'.  I could use our emergency preparedness water, but I don't know if I want to drain our supplies.

Do I take the trek back down to the valley and just camp out for a couple weeks til they thaw? But that would leave poor Deek all alone during the holiday. When would we celebrate our Christmas? We like to do it seperately from extended families.

Cripes, people.

Not to mention, I'm booked to work at the lodge next week. What to do, what to do.

Any one know of a magical way to thaw pipes?


i've been procrastinating...

...Writing this post, that is.

Last week, I had all intentions of blogging about our grand Christmas Tree Cutting Adventure of 2010.

And since, a giant DSLR camera is kind of a big ole' pain in the rear to lug along on one snowmobile with 3 people, a day pack, saw, giant tarp, and tree, I brought along our little point and shoot we've had the last 5 years that's on its' way down hill.

Whew! Talk about a run on sentence.

Anyway, haven't used the point and shoot since before the move, and low and behold, somewhere between packing up our old home and moving here we've lost the usb cord that connects our little camera to the computer. Awesome.

And then, just this morning, my desktop decided to freeze up all crazy like. Not functioning at all. Double awesome.

So here I am on our laptop with no pictures to show. Because what's a story without some good pictures for illustration?

And I'm trying to think of something really exciting to tell ya'll about, but I've got nothin'.


At least that doesn't need a good image to go along.

In other words, that's your warning for the Boring Post Award.

In other words, you may just want to





Gosh, you're stubborn, still reading and all, but really. You've been warned.

And so now you just get a hodge podge of really random things I've been thinking/doing lately. In fact, in honor of the year 2010 coming to a close I'll make it a Top 10 Things on Jen's Mind at 1:14PM December 14, 2010 list.

1 - I'm seeing David Archuleta with the Mo-Tab on Thursday.  Our really awesome friends (the ones that are my parent's age) invited us. They have some hook ups with killer seats, so it's going to be even extra amazing. And the other couple they've invited are some super accomplished (she's on Dr Phil and he's general manager of a local news station) folks. I'm kind of intimidated.

2 - I've been reading Jesus the Christ by James E Talmage lately. It kind of makes my brain hurt, but in a good way. I seriously LOVE it. I think I'm turning into a religion texts geek. But I guess there are worse ways I can spend my time.

3 - Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat! I've almost singly handedly eaten 1 batch of sugar cookies, 3 batches of truffles, and 1 giant batch of caramels in the last week. I'm craving salsa.

4 - I'll be really honest, I love the holidays, but Christmas shopping really stresses me out. Deek is hard enough, but to find the perfect gift for everyone else my list? The anxiety eats away my soul. So to fight the anxiety, I put off buying my gifts, which gives me more anxiety because I know, some day in the very near future I have to brake down and buy them. And then once I finally go to buy them everything is picked over and free shipping deals are over. Terror, I tell you. So if you get dried out chocolate oranges from Wal-mart, you know why. Or fossified moose poop.

5 - I'm the new Primary Chorister in my ward. Even though I pretty much bombed my first day, I'm already convinced it's the very best calling in the church.  Apparently I can't sing, read words, and wave my hand at the same time. And to attempt leading a round? Death by complexity ensues. Yes, my hair color is deceiving.

6 - Speaking of my ward. It's the greatest ward there every was. Seriously. You should be sincerely jealous.  Every one ranches their own piece of land and the kids are all cream of the crop. I think it's because they don't have time to waste on PlayStation's, texting, and other electronics. They can, like, carry on normal conversations with each other and other adults. Phenomenal I tell you. And the ration of cowboy boots and wranglers to normal valley church apparel is about 8:1. I love it. It is just so down to earth.

7 - Sometimes I dress up all fancy, even though I haven't stepped out of my double wide in days. It keeps me sane to pretend like I have somewhere ritzy to go.  Try it. Throw on your tallest heels, fanciest jewelry and be a rock star for the day.  Every mundane task is instantly coolified.

8 - This deserves a post of it's own, but lately I've been thinking about how funny life is. How different it is than the fairy tale land you imagine as a child.  Real life isn't a fairy tale. It's better and worse and just different.  The hand I've been dealt is somewhat unique (aren't all of ours?), and I'm convinced 99% of our experiences here are based on attitude, determination to make the most with what we have, and thinking with eternal perspective. As I reflect on my own strengths and weaknesses and compare them to my own life experiences I can see just how divinely tailored each have been for me.  They've made me stronger, wiser, happier, and braver than I would ever have been able to become on my own.  Like I said, a post of it's own is needed, but it's something that's been on my mind a lot lately.

9 - Sometimes I just really crave fast food. Or any food that hasn't been prepared by me. 3 meals, 7 days a week, all prepared by mwah.  If we're lucky we make it to a restaurant or other food joint once every couple months or so.

10 - Keeta, my dog. I have a love hate relationship with her. In the past few months, I've almost posted her for sale in the classifieds about 1.5 millions times.  But then, she has moments of such pure lovability I couldn't ever give her away.  The thought of giving her to someone else breaks my heart. But that doesn't mean she still doesn't absolutely drive me insane.  It just means that if she ever just really pushes me over the edge, I'll just take her in the back yard with my shotgun.  Love, hate, love, hate....

And so you see.

Boring post of the year is now over. The end. Ca put.

Until next time!

Reese and I today. Courtesy of PhotoBooth.


at least my frozen goods won't thaw

So one of the "perks" about living where we do  is that in the winter, we're not allowed to park by our dearest double wide.

We "get" to park a couple hundred yards away in the lodge parking lot.  I know, it is like soooo awesome!! (said like a cheerleader from, like, the vall-ay!!)

Do you realize what this means? Do you? Do you, do you, do you??

And can I get any more obnoxious in one single post?

Why yes. Yes I can.

Anyway, the reason for this is because the sewer pipes for the lodge run near our home.  And when heavy things, ie. our truck, drive over the snow where the pipes lay, the snow turns to ice which makes the ground even colder, which then freezes the poop pipes. And if that happens then Deek gets to pump poop.

All together now, "Ewwww....."

And yes. I just said poop pipes.

So, moral of the story. Everything we want to take in or out of our house needs to be dragged (or is it drug?) out by sled.  Food, Christmas gifts, luggage for trips down to the valley, children, etc...

The entire hike to the truck is covered in snow, so whenever I need to go somewhere that requires a vehicle, I have to bring two pairs of shoes: my hardcore winter boots and the normal shoes I plan on wearing to my destination.

Although my hardcore boots would look pretty fancy shmancy worn to church.

So far, I really haven't minded this extra little step to take things to and from home.  The food we have to eat is even more appreciated.  Now, in order to get my groceries into my home I have to do the following: Load food into coolers, load cooler into truck, cry, load food out of truck into toboggan, tow toboggan with food and child to home, cry, load food up steep porch stairs to home, lick away the frozen tears. And this is after the 40 minute drive each way to the nearest grocery store.

So much for pulling into a garage and running the food into my house.

This is why I try and only go grocery shopping a couple times a month. It's a lot of work to eat, yo.

I'm pretty much akin to yestermilleniums cave people.

Me. Work. Fo. My. Food. Grunt.Grunt.

Here's a picture that gives you a slight idea of how we haul everything in (And pardon the person-less picture. Deek was at work and Reese hasn't mastered the photo taking skills):

 Rah, rah, shish coom bah. Or something like that.

Just another day in the life of your average wilderness woman.


snow clothes finally came

And so we've tried to put them to good use.  And have you ever seen a cuter hat?

Gosh, I sure love that munchkin.


dear anonymous letter writer,

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

A million times thank you. Not only for the generous gift but for your thoughtful letter as well.

I received your lovely surprise in the mail yesterday. And what a surprise it was! I wish I could adequately express just how much it meant to me. Words would never do.

Did you feel my prayer of thanks? I asked God to generously bless you.  What a tremendous person you must be. A heart purer than gold.

The timing couldn't have been more perfect, in more ways than one.  Thank you for reminding me what this season is all about.  To make someone else feel the way you made me feel?  Surely an impossible task.

You filled my day with magic and wonder and the spirit of giving.  And the sacred spirit of thanks. How is it that a stranger would give so, with no recognition in return?

I hope to someday be like you, try to pay it forward. Such an example of Christ.  Your letter is one I'll continue to carry with me throughout my life. Reminding me what it feels like to not only be the recipient of such love, but urging me to action. A constant reminder to selflessly give.

I pray this Christmas season finds you filled with comfort and happiness and most of all joy.  And the knowledge that this little person thinks you're something great.  A legend even, that I'll always carry in my heart.

Many, many thanks indeed.

Love your friend,



thanksgiving recap

We're home!

Ok, actually we came home at the crack o' dawn Sunday, but really, I feel like that was only one blink ago at most. My home is still in vacation disaster mode. My laundry is waiting to be done. The late nights are showing under my eyes.

And want to know a leeeetle secret? My Thanksgiving decorations are still up.

--insert judging space--

I know. The gall. But hey. I still have like 13 more hours of November.

I'm still revelling in our picture perfect Thanksgiving. I think it would be safe to say, this was one of my most favorite Turkey Days in a long time.

Gobble, gobble.

There was mostly good, a little bad, and a smidgen of ugly.

the Good
- Me and my man singing at the top of our lungs to the Oakridge Boys Christmas album during the chilly ride to the  valley.
-Descending into the warmth. When we left Wednesday night it was -18F and when we arrived at the in laws it was a balmy 16F and we were sipping Pina Coladas. I was surprised to hear Thanksgiving day was only 24F. I had actually felt warm during the day when I was out playing with Kita. Feeling a hint of sun on my face was beautiful, I tell ya.
-The feast with Mom H's family. Wonderful people, wonderful food, wonderful conversation.
- Minute to Win it. Shake that booty...
-Watching Avatar for the very first time.
-Reese sleeping in til' 9:30am Friday, and lazy morning with Emilee, Aliseea, and Sean. I have the greatest in law family in the world.
- Weekend spent with my ENTIRE immediate family. Hands down the best time we've all spent together in ages.
- Matt's killer Kaysville scavenger hunt. Go team green!!! And COLOR TV? Who'd a thought?
- Discussing our mutual love for all things Parenthood with Greg and Katie. Who's that boy-man?
- The funniest game of Bubble Talk ever. We were all laughing so hard, no one could read the cards. Fire in the hole!!
- All of my siblings and their significant others trying to be obnoxious and follow me to the grocery store at 11PM Saturday night. 11 adults piling into the Suburban. Me driving. Guys, I only needed like 4 things. Japanese group pranks ensued. Post coming later.
- Staying up way, way, way too late every night.
- Pie overload.
- Greg and Katie and their absolutely stunning announcement: a new little bun in the oven! Hurray!!

the Bad
- The Lodge deciding last minute Deek had to work Saturday. Which meant he had to work every single day of the Holiday weekend excluding Thursday. We're talking Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. He was a peach and drove down late Saturday night to spend a few hours with my family.
- Waking up at 6:00am Sunday for the 2 hour drive home. Must. Keep. Eyes. Open.

the Ugly
- Kita possibly eating DeCon and trying to make her throw up all Thanksgiving morning. Sadness. But I think it's a good sign that she's still alive and still terrorizing everything in her path. RIP my favorite flats.
- Discovering a water leak in my parents new absolutely gorgeous remodeled basement. Bye-bye grandkids room.

So all in all, a hearty success!

And now I'm off to begrudgingly take down  my pilgrims and turkeys and fall foliage. Don't get me wrong, I love all things Christmas more than the next person. I just don't want to admit that it's almost here. That before I know it, the much anticipated season will be over. Gifts unwrapped, Christmas music silent, Frosty melting, and Rudolph vacationing in the Bahamas.

If I close my eyes, it won't go away.

Over and out, Jen Harbie.


(can't stop quoting Parenthood in my mind. Aaaaahhhh!!!)


it was just me. but don't worry, i'm still thankful

Darn storm.

All bark and hardly any bite.

Sure we received a few more inches of white stuff and sure it hasn't gotten above 0 degrees Fahrenheit today, but still. I was hoping for much, much more. I'll have to get my adrenaline high off of some future storm full of wintery vengeance.

And all the news people calling it the the Blizzard of 2010? Please. Last time I checked Utah was a mountainous state that sees its share of snow.

Anyway, enough grumbling from me. I'm glad most people stayed safe and sound and were able to get an extra day off work during a Holiday week (excluding us....darn it).

In the spirit of this week I'd like to make a small list of a few things I'm forever grateful for. And I have much to be grateful for.

Relationships; family, friends, you name it. Seems they always bring the greatest happiness.
My personal savior Jesus Christ, His atonement, the scriptures, and the gospel.
My spouse has a job. Oh the luxury of having a small, but survivable budget...
And for that job to be his dream job.
Countless acts of service and thoughtfulness given to my little family this past year.
Waking up to fresh mountain air every single day. Hooray for no inversions up here!
Home made bread.
A ward that couldn't be more down to earth. I love all the wranglers and cowboy boots and people.
A husband that never fails to make me laugh.
A daughter that's given me the greatest joy I've ever known.
A dog I've wanted to kill 1.5 million times but wanted love and hug 1.500006 more millions times.
A functioning furnace, washer & dryer, vacuum, and every other household appliance ever made.
My Baffin winter boots. Quite possibly my most prized earthly possession. At least while I live up here.
My cooking skills. Without them, we'd most definitely starve. No restaurants or fast food joints as back up around these parts.
Beautiful, pristine, brilliant acres of freshly fallen snow. 
Neighbors that take the time to make us feel welcome.
Watching Reese giggle with delight to see her daddy walk in the door, and then give him a great big juicy kiss.
Music. Food for my soul.
DVR (especially since it's free!)
Friends that take the time to come visit.
4WD vehicles.
My Yankee Vanilla Lime candle.
Finally, finally, finally being a stay at home mom.
Finally, finally, being a mom at all.
That newspaper delivery kid that biffs it in the movie "While You Were Sleeping."
The vast spread of stars draped across the sky. I love being able to see the Milky Way every night.
Not having a cell phone. I finally have a decent excuse for not calling people back! (at least that's what I tell myself)
Pillow talk every night with my very best friend (and warmest heater!).
And finally, the knowledge that I've gained about myself this past year.

Yup. Much to be grateful for, for sure. Hope the Holiday finds you filled with love and family and miles high piles of pies.

Happy Thanksgiving!



my horizon this afternoon

There's a charge in the air today. An eery, electrifying charge full of anticipation. Anticipation for what's supposed to be a storm to be remembered.

The trees are rattling back and forth as the howling wind blows clouds of powder through the air.  It's times like this I really wish my home had an actual foundation. You know, like cement instead of siding. But no offense, dearest double wide. Just please. Stay in one place. Let's not pull any Dorothy and Todo's farmhouse shenanigans.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe this storm won't live up to all the fuss the National Weather Service is making. Part of me hopes so. But a braver, more adventurous side of me hopes it lives up to the hype and more. There's something exhilarating knowing you're going up against all nature can throw at you. Some raw basal instinct. Man v Wild in truest form.

Storms have always excited me. Growing up my favorite channel to watch was the Weather Channel. I kid not. What 7th grader do you know could sit for hours in front of the TV watching the weather? I dreamt of becoming a tornado/hurricane/Bermuda triangle chaser. Or at the very least, the local charming weather woman.

Somewhere along the way I lost my intrigue for weather related careers, but my fascination with storms is still there. I get a little giddy, seeing a storm front crawl across the horizon.

And so today, I wait. I've been glued to my window, waiting for Mother Nature to arrive in full wintery glory. 

I can't hold in my excitement.

I know that's really weird to a lot of you. "She can't wait to DIE out in that arctic wasteland?"

Heck yes.

Bring on the storm.

P.S. While I really love a good storm, I'm hoping it doesn't shut down the one and only highway home. Tomorrow, the day we're traveling home for Thanksgiving, with wind chill it's supposed to be -35. As in thirty five degrees below zero. If they close the highway due to icy conditions we may be stuck here for Thanksgiving. And that would be bad seeing as how I'm at the end of my 2 week grocery supply. Sure, we have loads of canned food, but Spaghettios just doesn't quite compare to home made mashed potatoes and roasted turkey. Cross your fingers for us. Thank you.


civilization do you copy?

 this morning after cleaning off all the sleds. as in snowmobiles.

Because we're out here in the frozen tundra of the North Pole.  It feels like the edge of the world.

Simply breathtaking.

This weekend old man winter blew in a good ole' fashioned mountain snowstorm. And these winds must have some fairy dust, because they blew in some friends too. I love that fairy dust.

And better yet, Jason and Erin and gang were able to spend an extra night since the highway was closed down due to the weather. Nothing like being snowed in is there? Warm soup, warm drink, warm conversation.

Word on the iced over buried in snow gravel path street is that tomorrow is supposed to be even worse than Saturday. Like maybe even 2 more feet of snow.  Guys, that would mean the snow could pretty much be taller than I am. Not that that's hard to do.

I don't know why but I just really love the thought of measuring snow in feet not inches. There's something magical and quaint and simply exhilarating to look out the window and see nothing but pure, brilliant white. And knowing that your first step out the door you'll vanish into a giant puff of powder.

Love that Utah powder.

Love that I had to clean off two and half feet of it from the snowmobiles this morning. I guess it's better than cleaning my bathrooms though, right? This morning we got a call from a group of 16 people saying they wanted to come rent 16 sleds. This was like half an hour before they'd get here. It was a crazy mad scramble to get the machines wiped off, started, and gassed up especially since this was the inaugural outing for most of them this season.

Yup, yup, yup. Crazy, crazy crazy.

But awesome crazy.

It's days like today that it seems so surreal that this is our life now.  Everything revolves around snow, sleds, cabins, mountains. How incredible is that? I still have to pinch myself every now and then.

Never in the entire great big world could there be a job so well suited for Deek.  Or for our family for that matter.

Yes sirree. I heart the wilderness. And the snow. And even cleaning off the machines.

I simply love it all.

Just wish me luck that I won't get lost walking to the garbage bin. Cuz, uh...well. My snow clothes are all white.

Crazy awesome for sure.


from my kitchen to yours

Okay, so I really can't take the credit for either of these recipes, but still. Take it from me, both of the end products are d-i-divine.

The first, warm milk.

 image from google

 Yes, warm milk, and not yo mamma's warm milk either. This milk is incredible. And incredibly easy. Seriously, I didn't know milk could taste this good. In my opinion it tastes just like a melted churro. Deek thinks it tastes like a melted cinnamon roll. So just imagine the melted cinnamon carbohydrate of your choice. I've made this roughly 267.4 times in the past 2 weeks. It's that good. I'm pretty sure I originally found this recipe on Allrecipes.com. Not 100% sure though, I'll have to do some link hunting and post it later. Anyway, here she be:

Warm Milk
from the Internet
mug of milk
1 tablespoon white sugar (give or take according to taste)
dash of vanilla
dash of cinnamon

*Heat milk however you fancy, add additional ingredients, stir and sink into your own personal heaven!

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that while it's still a 'hot drink', it doesn't give me an upset stomach like hot cocoa usually does. As if it couldn't get any better.

Moving on....

image from google

 To truffles!! Of the homemade chocolate variety. I didn't realize they were so simple to make. I made them yesterday and when my entrepreneurial minded husband tasted them he said, "You need to sell these somewhere." Enough said.

Chocolate Truffles
The Essential Mormon Cookbook
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
chopped nuts

*Combine heavy cream, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan; bring just to boil. Remove from heat; immediately add chocolate chips. Stir until chips are melted; add vanilla. Pour into bowl.  Cool, stirring occasionally, until chocolate begins to set.  Cover and chill in refrigerator several hours.  Form  mixture into balls of desired size, working quickly to prevent melting.  Roll in chopped nuts or dutch processed cocoa.  Store in fridge or freezer until serving time.

I didn't have any heavy cream on hand so I used this substitute I found online: add 1/3 cup melted butter to 3/4 cup milk. It creates 1 cup of heavy cream, so I just halved it for this recipe.

Even with the substitute the truffles were to die for.

So there you have it. 2 new recipes that scream comfort and goodness.

How about you? Any super simple holiday recipes you'd like to share? Divvy out the wealth people.

Happy Baking!


because you really wanted to know all of this (she says sarcastically)

this is how I felt last week

Whew! I'm back. I know. You couldn't bear my absence.

What a week yesterweek was! In no particular stress factor order this is what happened:

Reese decided it would be really cool to stop walking Sunday night. As in, every couple steps she would trip and fall and act all frustrated (unheard of for her in regard to walking). Her left leg seemed to not be working. Then Monday morning she refused to walk at all. Everything on the Internet said You Child is Going to DIE. RIGHT. NOW.

I Decided to take the 2 hour trip down the mountain to see her doctor right away.
Some really uncool spouse dude suggested I take the civic instead of the truck. After all, we'd save on gas money, honey. Don't worry, I'm not bitter.

Spent 2 hours, 90% of which is through one canyon or another, driving downhill through an insane rain/snow storm.

As I gripped the steering wheel, knuckles white with tension, I new I must be close to gasping my last earthly breath. Surely the Civic would be hurtling off some cliff at any moment.

The entire way I kept thinking to myself, "I am going to DIE. Reese is going to DIE. We are both going to DIE. I hope Deek feels really guilty. I am going to make it my personal post-mortal mission to haunt him the rest of his life. Mwah ha ha ha..." And guys, I'm sure the Man Upstairs would totally allow that in this situation.

Somehow we made it to the doctor's office alive.

Nothing on the surface appeared to be wrong, so we were sent to Primary Children's for Xrays and blood work. Yippee. Again, still a blizzard outside.

My heart was ripped from my chest as I watched Reese scream and wail and flail as they tried to draw her blood. The first vial coagulated so they had to do it all over again. Heart wrenching.

Then they pinned her down for 12 as in TWELVE xrays. Again, screaming and wailing and flailing and reaching out for me to come save her. And all I could do was stand 6 feet away and watch.

Finally we left the hospital. Both of us physically and mentally fatigued. Decided to camp out at my Mom's for the night since it was still snowing.

Got a call from the doctor, everything looks perfect. They're not sure why she decided to stop walking.

Okay... thanks for all the help. Pshhh....

Reese decided to start walking again, but still limping a tad on the left. Weirdness.

Tuesday: Still snowing at home, so we continued to camp out in the valley.

Finally, a break in snow that evening so we made the long trek home.

Wednesday woke up with a sore throat. Fantastic, yet another cold. Spent the day preparing for the next days festivities.

Thursday, Deek's birthday! Hurray! Nothing like a sick wife to usher in another year. Oh yes, and Reese's walking is totally back to normal.

Friday, made another trek to the valley, this one being planned. Semimonthly grocery trip and family birthday celebrations. Reese decides to catch my cold. The nose faucet: ON. Oh yeah, and another two teeth are making their grand entrance.

Saturday night, home again. I'm still sick, she's still sick and Deek and I have both procrastinated writing our talks we were supposed to be giving in Sacrament meeting the next morning. Fabulous.

I stay up til three in the morning preparing my talk.

Sunday, still sick.  Stomach in knots. I hate, hate, hate, loathe entirely (name that movie) giving talks in church. I get scared out of my mind.

Deliver my talk. Success! I think both of our talks went great!

That night, our first random visitors EVER to come by, stopped by to say hello. And of course this is the one week I hadn't done any cleaning, breakfast dishes still in the sink, grocery bags from the night before still strewn across the kitchen table, birthday banners and streamers hanging all over the walls and I'm in sweats. But still, it means we have some new friendly neighbors and friends! And they only live about 5 miles away. Did I mention they're my parents age? That doesn't matter though does it?

Dieing, Hospitals, Sickness, Birthdays, Friends, Talks. That's was my week.

Sounds like someones life time line in reverse order. Anyway, that's what I've been up to and why the absence of posts. But ladies and gents. We're back in business.

My home is in order. My laundry is in order. My snot river nose is in order. And I made home made chocolate truffles.

Yes, life is good indeed.


14 month photo shoot

Whew! That took longer than expected. I was all ready to post the rest of her pictures Monday morning, but what do you know, we found ourselves trekking down the mountain in a blizzard to spend the day at Primary Children's. But don't worry, we're home safe home and everything is fine.

On to the real purpose of this post - the little Pee Wee!  So when Reese turned one I did something that no respectable mother should do. {It's like really awful and Reese will probably hold a grudge against me for the rest of her days.} It's kind up right up there with recording major mile stones and providing food to eat.

I completely bombed the 1 year photo shoot. Didn't even have them done.

As in, the one picture that everyone from the Hamptons to Hillbilly's manage to get. The ONE professional picture that is a must.


Chalk up my neglect to packing, moving, renting our place out, getting our new place ready to go, and countless other little things.

And so, Reese will forever and always have 14 month pictures instead of 12 month. Cry me a river.

Now, before I show them to you, you have to keep in mind that we did the shoot entirely on our own. As in, they aren't even professional pictures. And we are in NO way professional photographers or photoshoppers. And the lens we have isn't even a digital lens, even though our camera is (which means, blurry pictures).

I know. You didn't think it could get much worse. Our poor deprived offspring.

Anyhoo, without further adieu, the goods.

Check out those pearly whites. She has FOURTEEN teeth at only 14 months. Wowsers.

My favorite:

Love it in black and white too:

Love her to pieces.


once upon a halloween

Reese and I took our semi monthly pilgrimage to the valley the weekend of all hallows eve. 

Our last snow storm  buried any trace of what remained of Fall, so it literally took my breath away when we descended from a full blown winterscape down to a wonderful, beautiful, vibrant Autumn fairyland. And what an Autumn weekend it was. Temperatures in the 60's and brightly colored leaves still kissing the mountain benches and taking over neighborhoods.


Absolutely gorgeous.

I've decided that a large part of any holiday spirit, whether it be Halloween, Christmas, or the 4th of July we owe to modern day commercialism. You see, up here I toss up my Halloween decor, fill my kitchen with smells of warm baked goodies, and watch old school Halloween cartoons via YouTube. Yet still, something seems to be missing.

Then it dawned on me. I realized I craved the whole in your face, miles of candy, tacky blow up decoration, here-I-am gluttony of the nearest friendly supermarket. And chintzy newspaper adds.

Is that pathetic or what?

Pathetic or not, I luff it.

Luff, luff, luff it.

Any-hoo. The Rooster and I were down for my family's 2nd annual Halloween bash. Some of the attendees (wish I had more of everyone!)....

 (Could there be a better Yoda face out there? )

Others in attendance include a pink troll doll, Mr. Vampire gone green, Spiderman, the cutest newborn pumpkin in the world, and Paul and Cami dressed as themselves :). In other words, the party was a grand success!

Mr Hotstuff Husband joined us later on Saturday after work for the trick or treating.

I'm usually not a cat person, but holy smokes. This little kitty's the cutest little thang I've ever seen.

Her curly hair seriously kills me.

Kills me.

And that cleft in her chin? I'm sorry, but I really did give birth to the worlds cutest daughter. Next to yours, of course.

So there you have it. We had such a delightful weekend. Five days of Halloween bliss. And not to mention the pretty stellar families we were able to hang out with too.

Hope you and yours had just as grand of a time.

Now bring on the Holidays!


haul out the holly

Halloween Shmalloween.

We've been plummeted to the edge of the world, otherwise known as Winter.

I don't know what all this talk about pumpkins and leaves and ghouls is. We might as well call it the 4th of July, whip out the lemonade, and go prancing around in our swimsuits.

Come to think of it, I'm sure Deek would love it if I went prancing around in my swimsuit. Too bad all I'm sporting right now are my long johns, and they don't seem to have quite the same effect.

This morning to celebrate the first official dusting dumping of snow we whipped out Reese's new wooden sled for it's christening and went trekking out into the balmy 28 degree weather.

I'm in love.

She's in love.

It's perfect.

(speaking of winter... Santa Baby, would you pretty please bring me a new lens for Christmas? One that's actually made for a digital camera and that doesn't turn out blurry every. single. time?. Kthanksbye.)

Though I must say, I'm going to have some killer buff arms this winter. And some buns of steel - hauling that thing through hill and dell. Who needs P90x when you have a wooden sled?

Reese was giggling and smiling the entire time, giddy with love over her new ride.

How did I make it through my childhood without a wooden sled? This thing is the bomb. Thank you LL Bean for being brilliant and Mom for the birthday gift.

Many happy Winter days ahead!


if this isn't scary i don't know what is

Please don't ask what's going on in this picture.

Turns out, we've always had a little too much time on our hands.

Happy Halloween week everyone!

ze bread

 Today, I may call myself a handful of names:

Pooper Scooper

Resident Snow Shoveler

(online) Shopper Extraordinaire

 Kisser of Reese's Cheeks

However, I get to add one title I've never been able to call my own:

Baker of Homemade Bread

I did it!! And it surprisingly came out looking like bread. A success indeed.

Why is it that homemade bread has always sounded so intimidating? For me, it's right up there with Creme Brulee, Flambeed Whatever, and 524 Layered Salad. And I always assumed that if you didn't have a bread maker, it wouldn't turn out right or something.

But today was my first attempt ever in the history of Jen to make homemade bread. (excluding last Friday when I started making it, but totally forgot that I had left it rising in a warm oven. Yikes.  2 hours later....  A deflated Jaba the Hut.) Something about the cozy winter-like day and the fact that we ran out of bread gave me the courage. And it's the end of the month which means the budget is ready to burst. And with gas, a trip to the nearest store to grab that loaf of bread would cost me 15 lousy buckaroos.

So. Not. Worth. It.

So I rolled up my sleeves, put on my best 50's housewife persona, and faced the yeasty beast face to face.

The results:

Don't worry - I'm becoming more and more granola every day. Shirking preservatives, shunning plastics, loathing the microwave and baking my own bread. I'm even coveting a steam cleaner. My grandma would be so proud. 

I used this recipe, but I can't wait to try Deek's Gram's recipe. She makes the best wheat bread - Thick, hearty, and fulfilling. Kind of like a lady Viking opera singer, but in bread form. Unfortunately, I didn't have any dough enhancer or gluten whatever stuff that it calls for, so I just had to use good ol' honey, flour, and yeast in the basic recipe I used.

It still turned out better than I ever could have hoped.

My home was filled with the rich smell of wheat bread, and my belly was stuffed to the limit with warm homemade goodness.

I think I could get used to this.


holy sunset batman!

I have a few things to say about this picture:

This sunset could kick Hawaii in the pants any day of the week.  And I know because I lived there.

I really love my front porch.

I realize this is not a professional photo. You may be stunned to find out I'm not a professional photographer. (All those blurry photos had you fooled... Mwah ha ha ha haa.......)

I wish I could catch those colors in a Mason jar and keep it on my kitchen table. A vibrant, breathtaking sunset Mason jar.

I love chocolate chip cookies.

And that is all.



wish it were mine

(image found at heathermathisinteriors.com)

I could just sit and stare at this room for hours. Everything about it speaks to my soul... that old weathered chest, the wood paneling, that bench.  And that red door.....


Some day I'm going to have an entry just like this one.  Warm, inviting, covered in paneling, and full of character.

Until then, I guess my doublewide will have to do.


my schedule in the wilderness

 (Please don't mind the crazy ATV hair. I swear I look publicly acceptable 75% of the time)

"So, what do you do all day up there?"

Oh, the question of the century. If I had a nickel for all the times I've been asked that. But really, sometimes I wonder it myself, "What do I do all day?"

No errands to run. No places to be. No have to be here's or have to be there's. Just me, my girl, my house, and my dog.

Not to mention the wild beasts.

"Aren't you on vacation pretty much all the time?"

Ummm.... Yeah. If you count your husband working 10 hour days every day a vacation. Really, I'm pretty sure it's just like any other SAHM's day. Only minus the errands and people interaction. And with a few more ATV rides packed in.

You want more details? Well my friends, today is your lucky day. I'm going to let you in on my super thrilling daily schedule. I know. Hold on to your seats.

7:15am: Alarm goes off for Hubby to wake up. I briefly contemplate being a really on top of it woman and waking up for the day, but instead burrow down further under my thick duvet. My house is frigid.

8:00am: The Hubster leaves for work and again, I entertain the idea of rolling out of my warm cocoon into the icy air. My guilt usually gets the best of me so I get up this time, get the heaters going, and get ready for the day.

9:00am: Reese wakes up. PARTAY! We dine on exquisite fair like cereal, or muffins, or toast.

10:00am: Our morning venture! We forage through the woods and brave the arctic temperatures. Keeta is our ever so attentive (albeit energetic) guard.

11:00am: Morning nap time. My golden time. I clean or catch up on email, clean up breakfast, and sometimes work for the lodge.

12:30pm: Lunch! I make a mean grilled cheese.

1:00pm: Outside again! It's usually warmed up enough for Reese to be comfortable enough to sit and throw the gravel. Sometimes we're really creative and go throw rocks in the ponds. I usually find an unused atv and spread out on the sun heated black leather seat. I know my days of warmth are numbered. We usually find daddy for our afternoon visit, play fetch with Keeta, and explore the great outdoors.

3:00pm: Afternoon nap time. This is usually when I try and sharpen my cooking skills or blog. I've been trying to be extra awesome and fix at least 3 new or labor intensive foods a week. Things like breads, rolls, pies, cookies, cinnamon rolls, etc... Always using whole milk and salted butter. Mmmmmm........

4:30pm: The munchkin awakes. We eat a snack and then usually have our lazy time laying on the floor reading books, coloring, or playing chase. Being a stay at home madre rocks my socks.

5:00pm: Dinner prep.

Between 6:00-6:30pm: Hubster comes home and we eat!

7:00pm: Nightly family outing. Either by foot or ATV.

8:00pm: Reese is in bed. Hurray!! Deek and I hang out, catch up, go hot tubbing, and eat really amazing desserts we don't want to share with the offspring.

11:00pm: Lights out.

Rinse. Repeat.

You see? It's not all that different than your day right? Eat, nap, moose, clean, play, bear, sleep.

Yes, some may say it sounds a little monotonous. But we try and get down to the valley every few weeks to shake things up and keep us sane. There are trade offs for everything, after all. No, we can't run to the park or grandma's or the store to get out and about. Instead we have fresh air, peaceful mountain solitude, and a lot of time to focus on our little family. And it forces me to be extra organized when it comes to meal planning and other shopping.

Sharpening my skills, I tell ya.

So there you have it. The schedule of a SAHM who lives in the wilderness.

When it comes down to it, all it is, is life simplified. And you know what?

I wouldn't have it any other way.


just call me becky home-ecky

One of the major inconveniences blessings of living out in the woop woop is that I can't a)run to the store to grab that ever so illusive missing ingredient; or b)run through the local Wendy's on a busy night.

<Insert sobbing here>

Both situations have proven to be dearly missed.

Like the other day when I had to make those awesome pumpkin muffins. You know those incredibly easy ones that call for only 1 box of spice cake mix and 1 can of pumpkin?

Well it was vitally, yes vitally, important that I make them that second. If I didn't, I'm pretty sure my head would explode and my feet would fall off. And who wants to clean up that kind of mess? (ewwww....gross)

And so I threw open my cupboards only to find I was missing the cake mix.

In other words, like 50% of the ingredients. So, like any good girl should I consulted the Internet.

Mr. Internet brought me some pretty great news. Fantastic news. Did you know you can make your own cake mix, just like the box from scratch?

Seriously! Just mix it together, throw it in your freezer, and whip it out whenever you need it! Wha-la!

I found the recipe from one of my very favorite cooking sites - melskitchencafe.com. This is the link to her yellow cake mix recipe. I added generous measurements of the following to make it into a spice cake mix: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon cloves.

All the rich, moist consistency of a regular box mix without all of the crazy preservatives they put into that stuff.  Can I get a Holla?

And then I figured, if you can make boxed cake mix from scratch, wouldn't you be able to make a lot of other ingredients from scratch? After all, I hear there were people who lived on the earth before the 1950's and they had to eat something didn't they? And I'm guessing they didn't have a lot of the prepackaged, chemically preserved funky stuff that we do.

And so my quest has begun.

So far, I've found and used the following from-scratch recipes for ingredients I didn't have on hand. Each and every one has tasted about 1.75 million times better than its' store bought counterpart.

Homemade Buttermilk
Homemade Taco Seasoning
Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
Homemade Yellow Cake Mix
Homemade Hot Cocoa

As inconvenient as it is to not have a store close by, I think it will force me to sharpen my cooking skills, knock out preservatives from our diet, and add that extra "something" to our meals.

That's right.

Just call me Becky Home-Ecky.

And then run to that ritzy place called the grocery store and watch me cry.


5 things about reese in the wilderness

So I've done all of this talking about me, and have failed to introduce to you our little 1 year old mountain princess.

How rude.

Afterall, she's the one who really runs this joint. So without further adieu, here are five items of business about the Rooster-Roni.

1 - Her favored mode of transportation? Your standard ATV. Although if we really twist her arm she'll take the side by side.

2- She loves that every day is a bring your daughter to work day. We step outside our front door and we're immediately in Deek's office. Feeling sad? Let's visit Daddy. Need a break? Let's visit Daddy. Want to operate heavy duty machinery? Let's visit Daddy.

3 - I think she dreams about having vast lawns of perfectly manicured grass to play on. Gravel just doesn't have the same effect. Especially since she's still crawling.

4 - If anyone ever looked cuter in an oversized sweatshirt I wouldn't believe it.

5 - Sometimes I wonder how she feels, having her perfect little rose colored world uprooted so drastically. From weekly dates with both Grandmas, endless supply of adoring aunts, uncles, and cousins,  and the wonder of a hustling bustling surrounding, to be hurtled into a world with just mom, dad, the dog and miles of quiet mountain forest. Does she miss it all? Does she even remember it at all? I hope she can feel how abundantly we love and adore her, and that it keeps her human interaction canteen full between visits home. Never in all the world has such a little being triggered so much love.

So that's it for today. I'm off to cook and clean and polish off another muffin. As in, my 6th for today. 2 bran muffins and 4 pumpkin chocolate chip with cream cheese frosting to be precise. And it's only 2:00. Whoever said home cookin' was better for you, never stepped foot in my home. But since it's already in the teens at night up here, I think I could use a little winter padding before the real cold begins.

Yeah... that's what I'll tell myself. It's all for the sake of hard, brute, survival....


Survival never tasted so good.