checking out for a few weeks

While I am "forced" to do things like the following:

Fly to Houston to party with the sister
Celebrate the brother's wedding and festivities
Visit Chicago for an all girls' trip to see Wicked

Lots of fun traveling.  Lots of fun celebrating.*

I know.


Guys. Someone has to live like this, and I was all, pick me. PICK ME DANGIT!!

And whatdoyouknow, they did. Whoever "they" is.

I love "they." or them. or whatever..

And so, I bid ya'll a hearty yeehaw adieu.

This is Jen from the Wilderness checking out.

Over and out,



*I wouldn't be doing any of the aforementioned activities if it weren't for the generous sponsorship of un-named individuals. A.K.A. my rock-your-socks family.


while we were in the other room..

...Reese found my empty dessert plate I hadn't cleared to the kitchen yet.  Deek and I just couldn't stop the giggling.  Face pressed against the plate, licking off every last smidgen of chocolaty goodness.  A girl after my own heart.

In other news, a little nook-ed somebody has been mischievously climbing every piece of furniture in sight today.

Why are naked little baby bodies the cutest things ever?  {Note: full grown adults running around sans clothes is not so cute. Read here.}

Buddha bellies, scrawny shoulders, and squishy legs. Love it.  All of it.  Too bad they're just not as cute when you're older.

Any who,  fun is being had at the home today.  Hooray!


my love affair with snowshoeing

I'm in love.

No, not with him {though yes, actually I am.}

Meet my new hot date:

I finally christened the snowshoes that had been hanging out in my closet for the past few years.

We loaded Reese in the Deuter and went exploring into the great white wilderness.

The posse:

Cross country skiing trails sprawl out for miles and miles, all within walking distance of the lodge. A wonderland of wintery webs. A wonderland of wintery webs spread throughout the great white wilderness. 

Tell me you would be able to pass up on alliteration like that, foo'.

Oops, I digress. What was I saying? Oh yes... the trails. 

Warming huts and yurts provide shelter from the elements and provide a fabulous place to lunch.  The lovely hut we hiked to:

And then there was Reese.

Reese decided she'd like to whip out some independence and hike by herself for a while.

She kept going, and going, and going. Up the hill..

Into the meadow {such determination!}...

And almost to the woods again.

The girl's got some spirit.  She has some CAN do, WILL do, I'm-GOING-to-no-matter-what-you-say spirit.

Not sure where she gets it from, wink wink.

She was so pleased with herself, hiking just like mommy and daddy.  She even felt confident enough in her clunky boots to do some twirling up the trail. Spinning in circles with a smile on her face.

I know I've said it before, but I really just can't get enough of her.

But back to the snowshoeing. I'm totally converted.  A hard core fan, if you will.  Fresh, inversion-free air, moderate excercise {work those glutes!}, the best of company and all while being surrounded by God's natural canvas.

Mmmmm.... paint me that picture over and over again.

Snowshoeing? Yes please.

Again, and again.


roads and happenings

So things have been pretty uneventful around these parts lately.  In a good way.

{Discounting the episode of dog diarrhea that found it's way all over my kitchen floor (and door, and clothing, and dog...) this morning. Lots & lots of dry heaving ensued.}

I'm kind of basking in the uneventfulness.  Everyone is healthy.  Everyone is happy. And everyone is employed. Can I get a hearty yee haw?


It seems the steady plateaus of living are a rare find among the mountainous challenges and downhill thrills of one's life topography.

Love the rushes, not usually a fan of the climbs, and right now I'm really loving just hanging out on my plateau. 

Can someone please pass me a pina colada?

A few of the happenings going on in our neck of the sticks:

A local TV station was up here doing a special on the lodge.  Deek was interviewed.  I can't wait to see if he makes the editing cut! I'm also intrigued to view their perception of the lodge.  Living 24/7 at a tourist destination always lessens the glamour a bit.

Last January when I was down with a bad cold, I taught myself how to crochet via YouTube.  And then it seemed my interest waned along with the sickness.  It may have something to do with January, but I've had a rekindling of interest in crocheting again.  I started making crocheted hearts for a Valentine heart garland to hang above my living room windows. Aren't they the cutest? And also, the fact I'm getting excited over crocheted hearts kind of makes me feel like a grandma.

Reese no longer calls me Bob.  Sad day.  She's officially transitioned to Mom.  I wanted to stay Bobba forever.

We finally were able to find a way to refill the propane tank.  We had to hire a neighbor to come plow out a temporary road above our home.  Wahoo!! Heating our home and cooking our food can still go on!

In the months we've been here we've seen a lot of friends, family, and acquaintances. One of which was an old boss of Deek's. This was a person who displayed more disregard, disrespect, and rudeness toward a person {Deek} than I have ever seen. We'll just say 'classy' and 'admirable' would not be words to describe their behavior.

While we are so glad Deek is no longer employed there {because it means our journey of unemployment lead us up here to the wild west... wahoo!!}, the sting of the way he was layed off is still there.  When I thought about what I would have wanted to say to this person had I seen them, I realized my maturity and Christ like love for my fellow men weren't quite where they should be.  A swift kick in the pants would have been a satisfactory greeting, in my opinion.

Kudos to Deek for refraining from any physical harm and acting cordially.  I'm sure I could have mustered up some sort of courteous greeting had I seen them.  Or maybe I would have taken the "kill em' with sugar and a smile" approach, but either way would have been insincere and hollow.  It seems I have far to go in loving my supposed enemies.

And so the road to perfection is ever long and arduous.  Sometimes I wish I could just skip the road all together and revel in my imperfections and tendencies of the natural man.  Pretend there is no road and give way to all intemperance.  But then guilt {or is it my conscience?} usually gets the best of me.  Darn that road.

Can't I just swim around in my anger and belittling thoughts for a while?

I guess that only hurts me though, doesn't it?

And so the angel and devil on my shoulders battle it out.

Darn, darn, darn that road to perfection. Leading me from comfortable plateaus to mountains I'd rather not summit.

I guess for now I'll just sip on that pina colada....


one one one one one

Did you catch that today is 1/11/11?  Holy loads of freakin' karma.

I didn't notice the fateful date til about half an hour ago, but when I saw it, it all started to make sense.

Today has been the greatest of ordinary days. By the time Reese woke up at 9:00AM, I was dressed and ready for the day {even pulled out the lipstick - cue pat on back}, scriptures and prayer checked off the list, laundry in the washer, and bathrooms cleaned.

ALL my jobs were done before the little rug rat had a chance to rise and shine. Talk about a morning victory.

And then it just got better. As we were eating breakfast I thought, "Hey, why not just whip out a batch of cupcakes this morning?" And then we did.

And then Reese helped measure all the dry ingredients.

And then she thought she was spiffier than a flap jack in May. {what??}

And then I decided baking with toddlers is approximately 5.72 times messier than normal.

And then I also decided baking with toddlers is approximately 11.44 times more fun than normal.

{before the mess was made}

The result of our morning efforts:

And all frosted and ready to go by noon. What the heck was in my milk this morning? Apparently something that did my body good. {wa wa waaaaaaaaaahhh....}

And I promise this will be the last post for at least a week that has to do with baking. But ummm, guys, that's just what I do up here. What else am I going to do with all my free time?

The next day of luck? 11/11/11.

Oh the kismet you are destined to bring.  Luck be a lady indeed.


oatmeal bread

I posted about my first try making home made bread a while ago.

And while the loaf sure looked pretty, it wasn't quite the taste I was going for.  So, in search for something better, I whipped open one of my favorite cookbooks and found the recipe for Oatmeal Bread.

Holy moly divine.

Not only is it one of the tastiest breads I've ever engulfed, it's also the easiest I've ever tried to make.  100% perfect loaf on the first try.  Quadruple favorite points.  And it makes the best toast you've ever sunk your teeth into. Top it with some home made raspberry jam and you can cancel that trip to Hawaii.

The original recipe calls for all white flour, but I usually substitute half of it with wheat flour for the whole 'making it healthy' idea.  And while it's fine with the wheat, made the original way with all white flour, this stuff is sustenance for Zeus himself.

The recipe:

Oatmeal Bread
1 cups oats
2 cups water
2/3 cups brown sugar, heaping firmly packed
3 tablespoons oil
2 packages yeast (or about 2 tablespoons)
1/3 cup warm water
pinch of sugar
2 teaspoon salt
5 cups flour

Boil water and pour over oats.  Let cool.  Add brown sugar and oil.  Dissolve yeast in 1/3 C water.  Sprinkle with a pinch of sugar.  Let raise and add to rest of mixture.  Stir in salt, add flour, and knead by hand til dough is smooth.  Leave dough in same bowl, cover with a towel, and let raise for 1 hour.  Divide dough and form into two loaves.  Grease bread pans and sprinkle with oats.  Place loaves into pans.  Let raise again for 1 hour and then bake at 350F for 35 minutes.  Butter tops when cooked*

One of my favorite things about this bread is that you don't need any fancy equipment or to do any fancy shmancy oiling of the bowl, etc...  It specifically calls to knead by hand and then you just throw a tea towel over the same bowl you mixed it in and it's good to go. Easy peasy.

Also, you don't need to knead it that much - mine is usually ready to go with less than 5 minutes of kneading by hand.  Just knead til flour is completely mixed in and the dough is smooth. This creates a fluffy and moist finished product. And yes, I just said moist, one of the most cringe inducing pieces of vocabulary to ever exist.

*The eating of this bread may elicit abnormal behavior in the husband slash significant other. Repeated complimenting, giving of foot rubs, and lavishing with luxurious gifts may ensue. You've been warned.


cookies and dog germs

Today, instead of taking down Christmas decorations and starting the grand new year organization like we should, we made a mess.

A little cookie mess to be exact.

So what if Reese never got dressed in more than her undershirt.  So what if it was a bright beautiful blue sky day and we stayed inside. So what if only one bathroom was cleaned.

We had ourselves some fun. Some good ol' fashioned caloric fun.

Cookie may have been lunch's primary food group.  And whenever that happens my friends, you know it's a good, good day.

And P.S. Today Reese discovered that Keeta has holes in her nose.  She kept trying to stick her littler fingers up those canine nostrils.  Seriously.  And when Keeta wouldn't hold still enough for Dr Reese's examination, Reese resorted to giving her a great, big, juicy, wet, open mouth complete with tongue kiss right on the shnoz.  And then she laughed. The shnoz kissing, nostril attacking terrorist laughed.  Too bad I didn't grab my camera in time.

P.P.S. I stopped caring about dog germs after about the 256th time Keeta licked Reese's hand mid meal.  If I wiped her hands every time she touched Keeta, there wouldn't be any hands left to wash.  I just like to think I'm creating immunities. Lots and lots of immunities...


wishes for 2011

take advantage of my backyard: hike, snowshoe, ski, sled, explore, etc...

write thank you's more consistently

learn how to really use deek's dslr camera {auto mode doesn't count}

put relationships over "to-do's"

weight training 3 times per week

expand my baking skills

consistency in scripture reading

seize the day.


we're here live from the arctic

Whew!! We made it through the new year without freezing to death.  New Year's Eve's low was -36F with wind chill.  I don't care what kind of long underwear you own, that's just darn cold.

It's been an exciting few days.

Propane man came to fill up us up {that's how we heat our home} and discovered his hose can't reach our tank. Awesome. We're down to about 10% of capacity, so hopefully we can figure something out soon.  No propane = no heat and no cooking.

My double wide needs some long underwear.

We had visitors for the new year. Wahoo! Like real live people staying at our home.  So glad Danny and Sarah came up to visit, even if we did fall asleep before midnight.

With the crazy tourism business that consumes the Holidays, the lodge was packed.  I had to help out with housekeeping on New Years Day.. Translation: Jen cleaned lots and lots of toilets.  Barf.  Some people are really clean, and others not so much. I hope you never have to clean out a jetted tub that someone must have shaved their entire body in. And no hair had been rinsed down the drain. Gag. Vomit. Quadruple double barf.

Reese discovered the joy of jumping on beds {and checking herself out in the mirror while doing so}.  This is how she feels if we try and take her off:

Deek loves his job, but this is how feels about working almost every major holiday:

If eyes could bite...

Actually that would be really weird. I hope eyes never bite.

I love Deek's scar.  He says it's from a bear attack wink, wink.

It's not, but we'll let him pretend.

Our power went out the other night.  Didn't come back on til 5AM.  Our pipes were THIS CLOSE to freezing again.  Faucets were on full blast but only a trickle of water came out.  If there is one thing I've learned from living up here it's that having frozen pipes while caring for small children is pretty much the worst thing ever. EVER, I tell you.

I'm going to Chicago in a few weeks sans husband and child with the H gals to see Wicked. This year is already starting fantastically.

I keep hoping for it to warm up a tad so I can test out my snow blades on our sledding hill. And by warming up I mean highs at least in the 20's.

It's officially January and I'm stoked {Can I still use that term or did it die in like 2000? I don't know and now I'm embarrassed.}.  New slate, new decade, everything a white wintry new.

Cheers to a new year!!!