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.


don't worry, it's just a skeleton.

Yesterday, as we were out and about exploring the local neighborhood, we came across this poor fella'.

I'm thinking it would look lovely in the guest room. Nothing gives a touch of home like an old rotting skeleton bolted to the wall.

Or at the very least an au naturale halloween decoration. An effort to go green.

Anyway, she took us by surprise.

Honestly I was hoping to find some antlers near by, so I could find my first rack fit for my antler chandelier.

Oh yes.

I want an antler chandelier. This mountain air must really be getting to me.

Would ya'll still visit if we had an antler chandelier?  I swear I'll keep it classy. As classy as an antler chandelier can be. I saw one on HGTV once.

And everything seen on HGTV is a good idea right?


Fine, I'll just go hang my skeleton...


dear naked guy,

Thank you for visiting the Lodge last week. Honestly, I didn't believe Derek when he told me you checked in wearing nothing but one black sock and and a long sleeve black shirt that barely covered the important stuff. I didn't believe it, that is, until I saw you walking from your cabin to your car wearing the same. And then when you bent over to grab something in the back seat? Classic. Full moon never looked so bright.

I can understand how the natural surroundings up here may elicit the desire to become one with, eh, nature.  And how liberating it must feel to not have to make the boxer or brief decision each morning. You told us you had a groin injury. Which is why you're unabashedly frolicking around naked in the great outdoors where sharp rocks and pointy sticks abound.

Really, my heart aches for you. I heard you were running away from your kids so they wouldn't send you to a rest home. A fugitive on the run, grasping onto his last moments of freedom.  A Custard's last stand of sorts. What better way to go out then to show them, ahem, everything you've got.  So the morning we woke up and saw that you had slipped away into the night? I silently cheered, feeling relieved you had escaped before they found you. Your battle still alive.

And so, I wish you luck Mr. Naked Guy. May your journey be long and your back side warm and the rest home ever far away. Thanks again for bringing a smile to my face.

All the best,


the moose that almost ate me

So one day last week, Reese, Kita, and  I were out for our morning jaunt.  There we were, happily traipsing through the woods, soaking in the splendor of the sunny mountain morning.

The path we had chosen for the day was the one closest to the cabins. In fact, you can see almost the entire path from each cabin's back window. It's quite picturesque, really. Large fishing ponds surrounded by pine and aspen. The Bear River brushing the other side of the trail.

Of all the trails we frequent on our walks, this is definitely one of the more trafficked by human paths.

Reese and I had stopped for a minute to explore all the new textures around us - prickly pine needles, smooth river stone, and cold pond water.

Then we foraged on, singing and laughing, oblivious to all around us.

We rounded the bend and


I literally almost slammed into a moose.


A big, huge, towering MOOSE!!!

When does one ever almost run into a moose? I daresay, it's not something you plan on encountering on your average morning stroll through the neighborhood.

I vaguely remembered a story my older brothers had told me about how they had been chased down by a Moose in Farmington years and years ago, barely escaping with their lives!!! It's a small miracle they lived to tell the tale (as my childhood self recalls).

A killer moose.

Surely my moose had to be a distant cousin.

One big family of giant killer moose's (or is it meese? snicker snicker), out with a personal vendetta against the offspring of Dave and Becky.

An Italian mobster moose family.

I immediately whipped around and slowing walked away, too terrified to look behind me to see if she was following me, plotting her bloody attack.

And then, as soon as I was sure I was out of her line of vision I sprinted as fast as my little midget legs could carry me. Track star fast.  Keep in mind I had Reese strapped to the front of me in the Bjorn.

We made it to other side of the pond without being eaten alive.


Heart pounding we sized each other up, me and the moose, each on our own side of the pond.

She was beautiful, really.

But not beautiful enough to forget about how she was this close to murdering me. Those nasty mobsters.

They never forget about personal vendettas.

Later that day I went back down to the ponds with my camera to see if she was still there, and sure enough she was.

Watching, waiting for my return, patiently plotting her attack.

I snapped a few pictures and scampered back up the hill to my home safe home.

But I wouldn't be surprised if she's still out there... Still watching and waiting for the perfect moment to pounce (err...hop? wobble? hoof?).

 She's bigger than she looks.

Sizing each other up.

Note:  I decided I can deal with killer moose, but what really creeps me out are wolves. I swear I just saw 2 about 5 minutes ago as I was walking back from one of the cabins. Eerie, Eerie, Eerie. They send shivers down my spine. They could have just been really big creepy looking dogs without collars traveling together. Or not.  They just sat and watched me walk for about 50 yards. It was everything I could do not to run.

So, add to the "Animal Stalkers of Jen" list, 2 wolves.

And then pray for me.