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!