Merr Turns 9

We celebrated Merrick’s 9th birthday this past week. There’s nothing like a child’s birthday to shove time in your face. We started the day with our ritual chocolate chip pancakes.

For dinner he chose Cuban sandwiches, fries and Shirley Temples.

A new catchers mitt for the baseball this summer!

And of course the cake. I didn’t put much effort into the cake because I had something up my sleeve. None of the boys have made good friends here yet so while we were in Fairbanks we orchestrated a surprise birthday party at his favorite swimming pool. Aunts, Uncles, grandparents and close friends all came. Despite the planning, the surprise was a dud since our phones have little to no reception in the pool building. Scott texted to say they had arrived but I got it 2 minutes after he arrived. When we walked down to greet Merrick we walked in the waiting area the same time he did. Surprise?? Oh well. He still had a great time with his best buds! He had the coolest cake! Made by my dearest friend, Tana.

His favorite books lately are the Dog Man series. So Tana decorated the cake just like the character in the book. She did such a great job. The creases in the cake came from the transport but it didn’t ruin Merrick’s love for it or the yummy taste. All in all he had good quality time with his favorite people, cool gifts and delicious cake. Not much more to crave when you’re nine.

The Mighty Hunter

Scott has been moose hunting since he was a child. He’s seen his grandfather, dad, and uncle shoot and butcher moose his entire life. As an adult and as long as we have been married he has never had success on a hunt. Well, let me clarify. He’s been in successful hunting parties and has shot a bear which is pelted and hanging on our wall but never killed a moose himself.

Since he didn’t have the best of hunting luck while in Fairbanks we were on the kill list. The kill list is in fact a list that is managed by the state and if a moose is killed by a motorist you’ll get a phone call to collect your moose. We got phone calls in the middle of the night before. It’s not convenient but you get moose to fill your freezer. One year we got a middle of the night call but the state started contracting out to a company to collect the moose for the charity or family on the list. It seemed like a good idea but the person who collected the moose for us in the middle of the night didn’t drop the guts so in the morning when it was delivered the moose was bloated and foul. We weren’t able to salvage anything. That was frustrating for us. Such a waste.

Our family enjoys moose meat. We usually get sausage, burger, roasts, pepperoni sticks and I’ll make jerky from the roasts. If you process the moose yourself you can save a lot of money on food and you know what’s in your meat. No fillers, no by products. Just good ole organic meat. That’s why we were so happy when Scott was successful this year!

Scott and our friend Nick went out and Scott shot a bull within 20 minutes of unpacking. I didn’t believe him. Neither did the boys but minutes later we had proof.

Very early in our texting I made it clear there wouldn’t be another skull in our house. He saved the bear skull and it’s meant for a den or man cave. Not my living room. I really didn’t want to add another skull. They aren’t easy to blend in amongst flowers and pretty figurines. He has his heart set on a European mount like this…

So as a compromise I said that whatever the cost of that mount is, I will get that much money to spend on myself. Fair right?!? It made me happy.

When the mighty hunter came home we got straight to work processing the meat. Lots of burger and cube steaks were made the first night. Our helpers were working in full force. Lots of arguing over who got to drop the meat into the grinder.

Kierran was kept busy decorating the packages. The next day our friends Chad and Cindy came over to help process the rest. We had more burger, roasts, steaks, and pulled stuff aside for sausage and pepperoni sticks and I was going to try my hand at canning! Two friends talked about how great it was so I gave it a go. We have 13 quarts of canned moose meat now. I’ll let you know how that turns out. I’ve been told it’s great for tacos, stroganoff and meals of the such when you forget to take meat out of the freezer or need something done quick.

We have two freezers full of moose and salmon. We are blessed indeed!

Appliance Issues

We didn’t budget for new appliances. We wrongfully assumed all the appliances would be in tip top shape. This is the fourth house we’ve purchased together and you’d think we’d know better by now.

Scott recently returned from a quick trip to Anchorage with a new dryer and my much desired and anticipated dishwasher. Much to Scott’s dismay neither install was easy. We pulled out the old washer and discovered it was hard wired in. Neither of us had seen this before. Gratefully Scott knew how make a plug and I had added white outlets and plates to our last Amazon purchase so we had everything we needed.

After the wiring set back Scott had an issue with the washer hookups. He ran around town trying to create the part he needed cursing Bosch for not including the part with the machine. Turns out the hose he bought for the dishwasher had the attachment piece he needed. He was not happy with himself.

And there he is. All shiny and new. I have no plans to remove the sheet of wrap that protects it. Maybe when we move or the kids move out.

That same night Scott tackled the dryer. The deal with the dryer was that we had to covert it to propane rather than the natural gas it was set up for. We had to take apart the entire machine to get to the part that we needed to change out.

Scott contemplated going to appliance school since this job went smoothly despite all the labor involved. He did good! Everything went back together nicely. No odd screw left over.

So now I have my “not really needed” dryer working perfectly. If you don’t know what I mean about the “not needed” statement you’ll need to read my dryer vent post from a week ago.

So hopefully all the appliances are good for now and I can focus on painting. These vaulted ceiling are taking up some time and paint! I’ll post some before and after pictures soon.



We Took a Break

Scott and I have been working hard lately so today we took the kids to school and headed north a few miles to Thompson Pass and picked some blueberries.

It was a beautiful day!

We didn’t find the mother load but we got a gallon bag filled which is good for us.

There were lots of pretty streams with tiny waterfalls. Those fall colors make my heart full.

We brought Linus with us. He had a great time and found that he loves blueberries!

After berry picking we drove home and rested (I took a nap) before picking up the kids. It was a nice relaxing day. Tomorrow we’ll get back at it.



Dryer Vents Part 2

My lint eater turned out to be more useful and more expensive then I thought. After cleaning out my vents the dryer started throwing out gang signs. E46, AP…eek! Error, error, error. The dryer started smelling really hot too. It’s a propane dryer and it makes me nervous because I’ve never used gas before. Only electric. Crap! And guess what…SCOTT WAS GONE!

I assumed it had to do with my duct tape job so I undid it and continued to use it however my house was super moist and the laundry room had lint sticking to the walls. If I didn’t explain before the dryer didn’t have a dryer hose. The duct from the dryer was just rest near the duct from the wall. Scott duct taped it together until we bought a hose but I undid it to clean out the vents and dryer. When I was finished, I taped it up again. Now fast forward a couple days, Scott comes home with my new dryer. We assumed like every other appliance in the house the dryer was dying. We (as in he) converted the dryer to propane and hooked it up. It worked but the room was still really humid (I used humid because I know my friend Abby appreciated me not using the M word). We came to the conclusion there must be a clog. It’s possible the old dryer does work. Oops!

Scott traveled into the crawl space which was a blessing because we discovered that we really need to get that area fixed up. It’s a wet land mine down there. He undid part of the dryer ducting and saw a huge clog. I put my handy dandy lint mover together and went outside to push the lint out. Omg it was BIG and smelt like nasty laundry detergent. It was wet which is exactly why I didn’t get it out the first time because I didn’t take any ducts apart and was using the wimpy brush not the heavy duty one.

Sooo, the old dryer really wasn’t broke 😬

But we can sell it. Not for the price of the new dryer 😬 but maybe a quarter of it. And my new household fixer item proved it’s worth again!!

We are tackling more projects this Labor Day weekend so I’ll post some more pictures later.

First Day of School 2017

This day did not go as planned. I wasn’t prepared for the morning routine and in hind sight I should have had a mock trial run the day before. The drive time, the earlier start time…ugh. There was lots of yelling and hurrying going on. Certainly not the normal first day of school routine we are used to. I even forgot to take pictures before we left the house.

Barrett started 6th grade – middle school!!

Merrick started 3rd grade!

And Kierran was home alone with mom. After dropping off the boys he said, “Now what am I supposed to do without my brothers?”

Gratefully, he started Kindergarten the next week!

I was a wreck! Saying good bye to him I was really crying. I tried to hold it in for fear he’d cry but I couldn’t hold it in. Kierran was so good to me. He said, “Mom, give me a butterfly kiss. Now give me a bubble kiss (we blow up our mouths with air and kiss). Now Hugga Mugga” (rub our noses together like a bunny kiss). I then ran and hid in the bathroom to chill out for a bit before I joined the other parents at the Boo Hoo Breakfast. After the school sponsored breakfast I went out with another friend who orchestrated a Beers and Tears breakfast at a local restaurant. I got to meet some local peeps and have BREAKFAST!!

Then to celebrate having no kids in my house for 7 hours M-F (after 11 years of dreaming) I got a gym membership!

Cheers to a new chapter of mommy hood!!