Thursday, October 31, 2013

weekend visitors and stormy weather

Saturday while I was working on finishing the netting for the chicken yard, my father-in-law and his wife arrived at our house for a weekend visit. It was so great to see them both and to be able to spend a few days with them just hanging around our house. They run an eco-tourism business (kayaking, photo-safaris, and cabin rentals) across Kachemak Bay from Homer and so they're busy busy busy in the summer and we rarely get to see them (see photos of their gorgeous home from our previous visits here and here). 

I just loved watching Riggs bond with his Opa and to see three generations of Harness men talking, laughing and playing together. 

We went on a walk around Reflections Lake and I asked Rick (Steve's dad) to take some family pictures of us. I'm not sharing any of them yet (I will later though, promise!) but he managed to get these hilarious pictures of Riggs' boot falling off in the in water and I had to share them here.

The progression of these pictures just kills me. It wasn't so funny (at least to me, everyone else was laughing) at the time, at least until Rick was able to fish the boot out with a long stick. You're my hero Rick!

They brought a little wooden car to 'build' with Riggs and he just loved it. Ever since they left all I've heard about it the car (it's actually an ambulance) that Opa built. "Opa...Cah!" over and over, so cute!

The last night they were here (Sunday night) there was a crazy windstorm and we lost power for about 12 hours. In the morning we were able to go out and survey the damage. We lost about four spruce trees, but we were thankful that none of them fell on any buildings or vehicles. Still, it makes me sad to see the beautiful trees knocked down and destined to die slowly or be cut up and stacked away somewhere. An ongoing chorus of chainsaws could be heard throughout the neighborhood from late morning through the afternoon.

Steve came home early from work and Riggs 'helped' him clean up around our property both from the storm and to get ready for snow. I loved seeing them working together, it just warmed me from my head to my toes. It was a fun, crazy, busy weekend and I'm looking forward to a quiet week around the house to recover.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

chicken problems

Remember when I just had four chickens, and I went on about how easy it was? Then last week on Thursday, I picked up four more chickens to add to our brood, and ever since I've been dealing with chicken problems. The new pullets are Rhode Island Reds, and I specifically wanted that breed due to their winter hardiness and prolific egg laying capability. What I didn't count on was how sneaky and crazy curious these new birds are!

the newbies hiding in a tree while the others inspect them 
caught in the act
They spent the first day they were here escaping as many times as possible. Luckily they are very friendly and I could walk right up to them, scoop them up and put them back. But they also watched me like a hawk and wanted to follow me everywhere I went, including in the house. So they'd fly right out of their coop, hop along the edge of the fence and then hop down and stare in the back door looking for me. Sounds pretty cute right? Well it was, the first time or two. Then it was just maddening.

You can understand why I made them spend the next day in the coop. I went to get netting right away to cover the chicken yard so they couldn't fly out, a 30 minute drive one way to get to Lowes. But I only found metal mesh stuff and trying to put that up all the way across the yard by myself (with Riggs in the Ergo on my back) was so idiotic that it was actually comical. I worked on it for nearly two hours, kneeling down under the four foot height to connect all the 'mesh' together, which felt horrible by the way (and Riggs hated it too). Oh man it was quite the afternoon and I'll admit I may have cursed the new chickens and promised horrible methods of death during those two hours of agony. And then guess what? I didn't even have enough to cover the whole yard. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just gave up and went inside. Pretty dang perturbed, but I assume that goes without saying. Poor Steve, he came home to a frazzled, fuming wife that night. Saturday we had a class at church first thing in the morning, so we couldn't go right away to get more mesh stuff. We didn't make it to Lowes (again ugh) until about 12:30, right around Riggs' nap time. Not a good time to wander around a big department store (remember this? not pretty). The good news? Steve found actual netting and so we purchased enough to cover the entire yard with the plan to tear down the sagging metal mesh I had worked so hard to put up. Bad news? Riggs was on the verge of a major melt down the entire time and I had to take him out to the car while Steve checked out because he had started crying and screaming.

Luckily everything calmed down once we got home - Riggs went down peacefully for his nap, I went out and got all the netting up and was finally able to free the newbies from being 'cooped up' (I guess that's where that saying comes from lol).

finished up the netting just before the sun went down
Sunday I was able to go out into the yard and spend some time with all the girls and I was happy to see they were all getting along AND that nobody was trying to escape. Let's just say the new girls better start laying asap to make this whole fiasco worth it...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I have been so busy the last couple days that I haven't been present here on my blog. Sorry about that! Today is my last busy day and so I'll be back to regular blogging tomorrow, but I just had to stop by quickly and share something with you.

Just before bed last night I was able to read a few pages of Anne of Ingleside. Anne is one of my most favorite characters in the world of literature and I've read all of the books more times than I can count throughout my life. But as I've become a mother, I have a newfound love for the later books in which Anne herself is a mother. 

One of Anne's thoughts especially stood out to me as I laid in bed so tired from and especially busy day of being a wife and mama. 

Mothers were the same all through the centuries...a great sisterhood of love and service...the remembered and the unremembered alike. [Anne of Ingleside, p 155]

I love being a mother to my beautiful, sweet boy so very much and wouldn't trade it for the world. And I also love being part of that 'great sisterhood' that Anne speaks of - all the other mothers out there in all the stages of motherhood who inspire me and encourage me. Thank you to all you great mama's out there who have supported and encouraged me along the way in my own mothering journey. You are amazing!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

27 years of me

It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to. And really, I kind of feel like shedding a tear or two. 27 just feels old to me, wah wah. It's an odd, in-between age and I'll admit I like 25 a lot better. Despite all that, I'm so excited to find out what my 27th year of life has in store for me!

In honor of my birthday, I'm going to share 27 random facts about me for your reading pleasure. Lucky you ;)

me back in 1989 at around two and half
remind you of anyone?

one | I like cookies
two | I only wash my hair three times a week
three | cooking and baking have become favorite activities as I've gotten older
four | Public Radio is on nearly all day every day in my house
five | watching my chickens scratch around their yard relaxes me and always puts me in a better mood
six | I play piano, french horn, trumpet, and guitar and I sang in choir in high school
seven | speaking of music, my 'comfort' music that I can always listen to includes Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver, Jewel, Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan, Loreena McKennitt, and Ray Lamontagne.
eight | I've never lived outside of Alaska
nine | I've never been east of Michigan (but I want to!)
ten | Alaska, Canada, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana - all the states I've visited.
eleven | I have at least three times as many books as clothes
twelve | X Files is my guilty pleasure right now and I'm always trying to squeeze one or two in during naptime
thirteen | I may or may not have a crush on Agent Mulder
fourteen | I don't have cable tv, just bunny ears
fifteen | I lived without running water in my cabin for a year in college
sixteen | high school sports: cross-country skiing and cross-country running
seventeen | I spend two to four hours outside nearly every single day
eighteen | bangs are my thing, I've always had them
nineteen | I can't stand when my fingernails are longer than my fingertips and I always have nail clippers with me just in case
twenty | I wish I could draw and paint well but I'm pretty much horrible at both
twenty-one | I love houseplants and am slowly adding more and more to our space
twenty-two | spring, summer, fall, and winter are my favorite season ;)
twenty-three | I lied on my vision test when I was little because I wanted glasses
twenty-four | my favorite books when I was a kid were the Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery
twenty-five | since having Riggs I'm the lightest sleeper ever
twenty-six | I've never broken a bone
twenty-seven | I still feel like I'm 19 years old, what happened?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

paper garland for fall

Early on in October, I saw this blog post for a DIY paper garland from Amanda over at Happily Ever After and I put it on my mental to do list (check out her blog for instructions and much cuter pictures). I finally got around to getting some card stock and went to work cutting out circles yesterday. I have a little circle cutting tool that made it pretty easy and I may have even cut out some red, green and white circles for another upcoming holiday...

When I was finished sewing them up, I hung them up in Riggs' room to go with his fall/halloween books and his little pumpkin 'bag' (what he calls it) he picked out at the store last week. I think it turned out pretty dang cute :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

cleaning day and free cleaning checklist printables

Everyday is pretty much cleaning day in my house. Between having a dog and a toddler I usually vacuum every day and I try to tidy up every evening before Steve gets home. But after the weekend with Steve home and lots of activities, Mondays are pretty-much always my deep cleaning day.

I might be slightly crazy, but I actually enjoy a good cleaning. And it's even more enjoyable when you have a good list to check off after you accomplish each task. I saw a cute [free!] weekly cleaning checklist printable over on Shayla's blog, Moons & Junes, and thought I'd share it here too. (click on the image above to link over to the original source for the downloadable file)

After finding the checklist above, I started thinking it would be nice to find something a little more customizable. So I began searching for customizable cleaning printables and found a great resource over at this blog. Head over and check it out if you're interested!

This amazing resource includes daily, weekly and monthly cleaning checklists that are fully customizable to fit your needs. They're also really cute, and as the author of the blog suggests, would look great printed out, framed and used with a dry-erase marker each day/week/month as you check off your finished cleaning.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, October 18, 2013

guest post on LIVE TEACH ALASKA blog

I was so excited when Natalie over at LIVE TEACH ALASKA invited me to answer a few questions about life in Alaska for her readers. I have loved reading Natalie's blog since before she and her husband even moved to Alaska (from Korea!) to teach kindergarten in Bush Alaska. I definitely recommend you click over and make yourself comfortable in her space and get to know her a little bit. 

five friday favorites

It's Friday yay! I don't know why I just typed 'yay' since a) I don't technically have a 'weekend' and b) Steve's working Saturday. There's just always something about a Friday...including my five Friday favorites and two linky parties!


How on earth did my baby grow so fast? He still feels like my little baby, no matter how big he gets.
 But when I see photos like this one, I can't deny that there's just not much baby left in my big boy. 
I miss that little thumb sucker!


I made these earlier this week for Steve to share at work and they were divine.
They were also gone in one day - time to make some more!


how adorable are these? definitely the best pumpkin decoration I've ever seen.
They look like a lot of work but maybe worth it for a harvest party?


I love Restoration Hardware baby stuff. I can't help it. And I don't think all of their items are
necessarily outrageously priced - I would definitely purchase something from them if it was in our budget. 
This post is somewhat negative towards them and towards people who would purchase their stuff, and
 that I don't love. But I couldn't help laughing out loud (literally - Steve thought I was crazy) when I read it. 
The captions for the photos are sooo funny!

If you read this one definitely let me know what you think in the comments!


I pinned this a while ago but every single time I see it I die. That babies expression is just too funny
and the you really think our sweet little angels would do that to us?
Sometimes I wonder...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

perfect french toast

I love breakfast food. I think it's my favorite type of food there is. Waffles, pancakes, scrambled eggs, toast, it's all sooooo good and satisfying. But perhaps the best of all is french toast. I love how many different ways you can make french toast, with different types of breads and toppings. 

This is a new recipe that I tried and simply loved. It's a great, basic, perfect recipe for classic french toast. It only utilizes egg yolks which is the first time I've seen that in a recipe for FT. And it's from Ree (the Pioneer Woman) so you know it's going to be good. 

As previously mentioned, you need eggs, yolk only (I added my extra whites to the scrambled eggs I was also making). You also need whole milk or half&half if you have it.

Then you'll need some vanilla and sugar and cinnamon (I added the cinnamon - you always need cinnamon).

Also new for me was dipping all the bread and letting is sit on a pan before starting it on the griddle. Not sure the reason for this, but since my FT turned out perfect, I'll keep doing it!

Let some butter get bubbly and nearly brown on the griddle.
Then add as many slices of bread that you can.
Let it cook over medium heat until golden, about 4 minutes for me.
Then flip and repeat on the other side.

Add more butter for the rest of the slices (each time you add more slices to the pan you need more butter). I turned the oven on to about 200 degrees and put the finished slices in there to keep warm while the rest were finishing up.

Finally, enjoy your delicious and perfect french toast with some more butter, warm maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon or powdered sugar.

Perfect French Toast (I halved this recipe since it was just Steve, me and Riggs)

12 slices wheat sandwich bread, or 1 loaf crusty bread
4 whole egg yolks
2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
1 TBS sugar
2 tsp vanilla
zest of one lemon (optional)
butter for pan (about 3-4 TBS)

1. if using crust bread, cut into slices about 1/2" thick.
2. in a dish, mix together egg yolks, milk/h&h, sugar, (cinnamon!), lemon zest (if using) and vanilla. whisk to combine.
3. dip bread slices in mixture, coating both sides, then remove from dish and set aside. repeat until all bread is coated.
4. heat iron skillet or griddle over medium heat (I used a large stainless steel sauce pan for this since I don't have an iron griddle that's functional right now). add 1 TBS of butter before each 'batch' of bread. cook french toast on both sides until golden.

[original source]