Monday, November 28, 2011

Sprinkled White Fudge

Listening to Cumberland Christmas music and shopping for gifts online!  I love this time of year, but it has a whole new sense of wonder now  Well, I did it!  I called the rescue mission to see if there was any need there.  I had to just leave a message, but the ball is in their court now.  Really having a lot of pain in my wrist.  I got a referral to an orthopedic surgeon, but so far, I've just been leaving him messages...

Here's the recipe for the white fudge.  Sort of a different take on the Christmas favorite.  Great texture!

·         ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
·         1 12 oz. package white chocolate chips
·         3 tsp Vanilla Extract
·         1 tsp Almond Extract
·         Sprinkles

Pour milk and white chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 2-3 minutes, or until white chocolate is almost completely melted. DO NOT OVERHEAT. Stir until completely blended, melted, and smooth.  Immediately add vanilla and almond and combine thoroughly. Add a handful or so of rainbow sprinkles and fold in quickly, because they will melt (and if they are stirred for too long they’ll turn the fudge an ugly muddy color).  Transfer to an aluminum-foil lined 8×8 inch baking pan. Let cool.  Once set, cut into cubes. Store in a cool place.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pocket Hand Warmers

We got an exciting update at church this morning: we're moving ahead with buying a new building!  This is so great, we're sort of bursting at the seams and desperately in need of more space, so this will be great!  (For more info, see the link for our church at the right).  Something that I've had on my heart for awhile was addressed in the sermon today, and that is to get out into our community rather than just have all my human contact be with other believers.  So I'm using this page as a place of accountability today:  I'm going to at least call a couple outreaches this week and see if they have any needs I might be able to help with.  Okay, now I have to do it! =)  And hopefully something I can bring this little cutie along with me.

Here's another simple Christmas gift idea, or maybe stocking stuffers.  And the fun thing is you can really do any shape you want.  Just cut four pieces from felt, embroider a design on two if desired.  Then blanket stitch most of the way around the edges, fill with either rice or rice and lavender, then finish off!  Place in the microwave for a minute or two, then tuck in your pockets (or your sweeties pockets), and then your ready for the frosty day outside!  (PS: you can find mine for sale at my etsy shop "Way up North": link also at right.)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bacon Cheese Moose-loaf

I just got sweet little Fynn out of a bath.  He just has so much fun splashing himself in the face and trying to catch his rubber duck, it makes it a joy to give.  That and the honey-scented soap Katka gave him!

So Josh didn't think he liked meatloaf until I made this recently, now he can't get enough! =)  I just love it when my experiments turn out!  Anyway, I thought I'd share this way to a man's heart:
Bacon Cheese Moose-loaf
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • Herbs, salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 slices of bacon, 2” sections
  • 1-2 cups grated cheese
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the moose, egg, onion, milk and bread crumbs. Season and place half in a lightly greased 5x9 inch loaf pan.  Layer cheese and bacon, then add the rest of the moose. 
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine the mustard and ketchup. Mix well and pour over the meatloaf.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour.

Granted, it's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it is pretty simple and fills the stomach.  I don't like bacon, so I end up picking that out, but I love the moose!  Hope you enjoy!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving to all!  I hope you had a great day with family, friends, good food and much thanks!  We were so blessed to be able to go over to our friends’ house and celebrate with their family as well as a few others.  Fynn was mesmerized by the other little ones running around!  And, he got his first real food since his cereal:  carrots from our garden that I had blended right after they had been harvested.  He was not so sure at first, then he couldn’t get enough!  He also had a couple tastes of potatoes and blackberries that he seemed to enjoy.  And he’s been drinking from his bottle so well by himself as well as out of Momma’s cup with just a little help.   We played Dominoes and Apples to Apples—so much fun!  We also got the honor of celebrating with a couple of ladies who were from Australia, one of whom had never celebrated Thanksgiving before.  I loved hearing about their home and it made me see our Thanksgiving in a new light.  


Fynn's hand turkey
Writing what we're thankful for on the tablecloth
Fynn's doodles (with a little help)
Thankful for Daddy!


Our gracious host and hostess

Cutting the ham, really fast!

Feeding himself!

First taste of carrots!

Yeah, he liked them

I didn’t do the Thanksgiving challenge, so I’m going to catch up here:

1.       New life from God through Jesus: grace, forgiveness, love, and hope.
2.       My wonderful, handsome husband, the amazing father, provider, and best friend
3.       Our sweet baby, his health, and the joy he brings to our family.
4.       My Washington family, all their love and support (especially with cooking help yesterday morning! =)
5.       Our Fairbanks family: our amazing church family and their welcoming spirit
6.       Our cozy little home
7.       Woodstove and the heat it brings!
8.       Good jobs
9.       The time I can spend at home with Fynn right now.
10.   The beautiful snow.
11.   The internet so I can keep in contact with friends and family afar.
12.   Blackberries, dark chocolate, and peppermint.
13.   A car and tires that do well on the ice.
14.   Music: listening to, playing, writing.
15.   Paint, super glue and embroidery floss.
16.   My new fur slippers!
17.   Good books
18.   Our wonderfully goofy critters
19.   Fresh eggs, Moose meat, and veggies and herbs  from the garden
20.   Living in a state with such beautiful scenery, wildlife, adventure, and a PFD
21.   Goofy songs that make Fynn stop crying in the car
22.   Boogie wipes
23.   My childhood—we had so much fun, thanks Mom and Dad!
24.   A Wonderful Thanksgiving: good food, good fellowship, good times.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tea Wreath

Boy, what a cold week it has been!  I’m so thankful for our warm cabin and firewood to burn!  Our poor little chickens have probably been suffering the worst.  I can’t keep their water thawed for anything, and we’ve had several eggs completely frozen and cracked open.  Last night I found the oddity below (I think eggs are just so beautiful!). No, things just aren’t quite right in chickenland!

I just can’t get enough tea of any kind on these days. It warms my bones.  I found a cute little project of Tea Wreaths that I thought would be a sweet Christmas gift on a budget.   Supplies would include individually wrapped tea bags of choice (12), willow swatches (3-could use other branches or even thin dowels), decorations to taste and glue (I’d recommend hot glue or superglue for this one.)

I ended up whittling down the middles of the branches first to have a flat area to work from.  Glue all three in the middle.  You could even do a bit of a God’s eye at this point by wrapping yarn or embroidery floss through the branches for added support.   Then glue a tea bag to the ends of each branch and fill in the gaps by gluing the corners of the tea bags together.   Decorate as desired with ribbons, bows, or sprigs of evergreen and gift generously!  Total cost < $5.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Baby Crib Mobile

What a chilly day today!  It's hanging just under 30 below and refusing to rise.  Josh is working 12 hour shifts this week getting equipment ready for Prudhoe Bay.  I haven't gone out much this week because of our record low temperatures and Fynn's cold, but everyone's going stir crazy.  Fynn gets grumpy when he doesn't go outside a lot and the dog really needs to run off some energy.  Even the cats try to go outside, but when we open the door for them, they just flatten their whole bodies against the blast and glare at us like, "why won't you make it warmer!?"  Not in my power.

Anyway, I really like the idea of putting some DIY projects on here because I love them so much myself!  If there are only certain things you want to read here, I’m categorizing things over on the right there.  Anyway, I’m all about using what you’ve got on hand if possible, or can get relatively cheaply if not.   It’s sort of funny how Josh and I balance each other in that aspect.  I’m totally thrifty and he’s more about quality, we usually get by pretty well in the end! =)
I’m finding a lot of baby stuff is expensive!  The only mobiles I could find were all well over $50!  Not exactly in our budget right now, but I could see that Fynn would enjoy something of the sort.  I’ve had these fleece scraps laying around that I’ve been going crazy with lately.  Fleece is so forgiving, I love it!  Anyway, a couple naps later, I had a couple simple animal faces, but you could really do any shapes.   Then I filled them with what I had lying around: Some old pasta noodles and the fabric scraps from making them.  You could use real stuffing, beans, filler popcorn, whatever. 

Next came a couple of willow swatches from outside.  I used more of the fleece strips to lace around two, making a hoop.   A third long swatch was tied to the top of the bed.  Then, it was just a matter of tying the portions together, allowing enough length for swinging and swatting.

 Fynn really loved this (as did the cats), but it held up! =)  Note:  This was perfect while Fynn was in his batting stage.  Now that he's grabbing everything and putting them in his mouth, this mobile has sadly been removed, but Fynn is interested in different toys now, anyway.  Perfect for that stage, though!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chai Concentrate

I think I discovered Chai tea just after high school and have been hooked ever since.  When convincing me to try it the first time, my dear friend Melissa called it "Christmas in a cup."  So true!  My Aunt Maureen discovered a recipe for the powder, which is so good, especially in the winter when all I want is hot tea.  However, it is a little tricky to make chilled.  Anyway, I found a liquid concentrate recipe that I'm going through like crazy right now!  I love it and thought I'd share for my fellow chai addicts out there!  
(photo from "mostly foodstuffs")

·         4 ½ c water
·         1-2 sticks cinnamon
·         1 3” piece of fresh ginger, chopped -OR- 1/2 tsp ground
·         7 cardamom pods -OR- 1/2 tsp ground
·         1 star anise pod
·         10-20 cloves
·         ¼ tsp ground black pepper
·         ½ tsp ground nutmeg
·         1 tsp orange zest (optional)
·         10 bags black tea
·         ½ c. brown sugar
·         1 Tbsp honey
·         1 Tbsp vanilla

Prepare the spices and the tea, and set aside.

 Bring the water to a boil, and remove from heat, then seep the spices and tea  for 15 minutes.

  Strain the mixture into a 4-cup jar, discarding the spices.  Add the sugar, honey and vanilla, and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Store refrigerated.  With the store bought concentrate, I usually mixed it half and half with milk.  This stuff is a little bit strong for that, so I've been filling the glass 1/3 full of concentrate and the other 2/3 full of milk.  I hope you enjoy!  I just have to picture my little helper in his bean bag, too:

Playing Catch Up

       I was just thinking this week, "I should start a blog, just for giggles and grins."  But when I tried to create an account here, it said I already had one that I had completely forgotten about!  So. from the time I last posted, a lot has happened.  We finished our beautiful trip to Ireland with many sweet memories, an enhanced love for the culture, and a deep desire to return someday.  The week after we got back, we re-packed all our possessions in a U-Haul and hit the road "North, to Alaska!".  Josh had been hired at the CAT dealer in Fairbanks.  Mom, Daniel, and Ron helped comprise our little caravan.
       Within the week we found an apartment in North Pole and settled in.  It took a while to get used to the area, but we soon came to love it.  There is such a unique sort of beauty here and the vast majority of the people we've met are so warm-hearted.  Yup, I think we're going to stick around.  A few months later (November?) I flew down to Anchorage and stayed with the ever hospitable Stacy Stone before taking my nursing boards.  After a few agonizingly long days, I found out that I passed!  In December, I started my first job as an RN on the medical floor of Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.  They have been such a great company to work for and I truly love working there!
       Also only a few weeks after moving here we found our new church family at Shelter Bible Church.  Awesome group of people trying to be a reflection of Jesus to the world.  We just felt so warmly welcomed and a sense of belonging right away as well as God's presence and work within. 

      In April of 2010, we purchased our first home in the hills north of Fairbanks.  What an exciting thing!  
I promptly started putting paint on the walls and building a couple raised gardens.  There's an unending list of projects associated with it, but they all seem exciting and fun!  (And I killed the engine in the 4-Runner and we got my little Escape.)

Soon, Clancey and the chicks (3 Silver Wyandotte, 3 Americauna) joined our little clan:
      Then in September we got even more exciting news: after one devastating miscarriage, we were pregnant!  Aside from about 5 months of severe nausea, the pregnancy went fine.  On June 1st 2011, we were so greatly blessed with Fynneghan Stephen.  Our precious little angel flipped our lives upside down over night and we never want to go back!  You'll be seeing lots more of him! =)  So that's a super brief overview.  I'm already excited about what the future will hold!