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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Now it REALLY looks like we're moving

Last night was an incredibly successful Craigslist night - in the space of just a few hours we sold both night stands, both end tables, the TV stand, an arm chair, a bookcase, a cabinet, and Karl's bike.  Now the house is pretty much a disaster because we don't have much left to store things in.  We only have a few more things to sell and we'll hopefully get rid of them this weekend at the yard sale.

Two weeks from today and we'll be on the road!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Touristy Day in Pittsburgh

Karl's brother Jake, Jake's girlfriend Marcella, and Jake's daughter Emma, are staying with us for the next few days before the head out to Ligonier to spend the rest of their Pennsylvania trip with Emma's mom.  Marcella had never visited Pittsburgh before, and Jake had never seen much of the city even when he lived out in Ligonier a few years ago.  We set out to do some fun touristy things around Pittsburgh:

First, we hit Mt. Washington for the requisite shot overlooking the city.
Then we hopped on the Mon Incline and headed down to Station Square.
To finish our tour of the city, we did a quick boat ride on the Gateway Clipper.
Emma had a blast feeding the fish and ducks in the river some leftover popcorn. These fish were huge!
Marcella was impressed by the size of the city.  I guess Pittsburgh does seem pretty large when you're used to Anchorage!  It was also a great opportunity for me to do a few last things around town and get a photo or two to cheer me up when I'm feeling homesick in Alaska.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Going, Going, Gone!

Karl and I had a very successful morning at Trader Jacks this morning (although if you ask Karl, he'll swear we were at Trader Joe's - I've given up hope on him figuring out the difference).  When it was still raining at 4am I started to get nervous, but the weather ended up beautiful for us, although a bit too humid for my tastes.

We made just over $100, and got rid of nearly everything we took with us.  Considering my car was packed to the absolute brim, this was no small feat!  We stopped at the dumpster on the way home and got rid of about a bag full of stuff that would never find another home.  I still have some books left, but I'm doubting it's even worth my time to go to Half Price with them.

As long as the weather holds next weekend, my neighbor and I will be putting some stuff out in front of our houses in a garage sale type of deal.  Since I'll only have 20 feet to go, I'm planning to drag all the furniture that's left out to the front yard and hope that someone driving by sees something they like.

The house is looking awfully bare!  The curtains are down, which makes everything look just that much sadder.  And my pile of boxes seems to grow right before my eyes.  My next plan is to split the boxes between stuff going in my car and Karl's car, and stuff that needs to go in the trailer.  Then it might seem like I have enough room!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lily of the Valley Soap

This soap turned out great!

Too bad I can't say the same about the first batch...  My soap mold clamps together on the sides, but is a little bit loose.  I've never had a problem with it, until now...  I had just poured the soap (could tell the swirl was going to be AWESOME) and picked up the mold to carry it into the laundry room to sit over night.

And then the side fell off.

And then there was 4 pounds of liquid sloppy soap all over the side of the fridge and the kitchen floor. 

Oh, and let's not forget that it's not fully saponified at this point, so I have some awesome lye burns all over my hands now from cleaning it up.  Granted, I could have waited until it became a bit more soap-like and way easier to clean up, but I was terrified Willow would come in and try to eat it.  Yes, she can definitely be that dumb.

Well let's look on the bright side - My kitchen floor is SO clean right now.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Minty Fresh

I kind of feel like I'm living in a giant tube of toothpaste right about now.

I cut all of my peppermint in the front yard, and now it's hanging in my living room to dry before the big move.  I've never really timed how look it took to dry the peppermint, but I imagine 3 weeks should be more than sufficient.

It is wonderfully fragrant and still so bright and green.  Tastes good, too!  I tried to get Willow to eat some in hopes of freshening her breath, but I guess it seemed a little too much like lettuce for her discriminating palate.

What will I do with all of this dried peppermint?  Definitely keep it for another batch of minty soap, and maybe make up some new sachets in the future.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Almost makes washing dishes fun!

I spent some time this weekend practicing my crochet skills so I can whip up a bunch of dish cloths on our 80 hour drive.  Prior to this weekend, I didn't really know how to crochet.  I knew I better figure it out before we were on the road and it wasn't really feasible to look up how to videos on youtube.

This is what I came up with:


Neither of these were made using a pattern.  I just wanted to throw some stitches together and see what I ended up with.  They look pretty good to me!

I have ten more colors to use, so I should be completely set on dish cloths!  I think I might try to make one or two larger ones to use to dry dishes.  I am definitely looking forward to road trip activities - Just crossing my fingers that I will still be entertained a day or two in!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In case I go missing...

I'm probably chopped up into little pieces and buried in the neighbor's backyard.

The guy across the street has decided he hates me for some reason.  This is bizarre, because I've never spoken to him in the three years we've lived here.  Granted, he is a little insane and probably needs a medication adjustment.  This however will not make me feel any better when I'm being murdered.

Earlier last week he decided to move one of his junker cars into the parking space right in front of our house.  Kind of rude, but not necessarily the end of the world.  The next day, Karl was leaving to meet some friends for lunch, and the guy yelled across the street to Karl:

Crazy neighbor: "Hey, how do you like my parking spot??"

Karl: "Well, I don't park there."

Crazy neighbor: "Yeah, but your girl does and it's a roundabout way to f*&@ her in the a$%!"

Um... what?!?!?

So, needless to say, his car (flat tire and all) is still in front of our house.  I would be fine with ignoring the issue until it came time to park our trailer there and load.  Our landlord, on the other hand, was seriously not happy and went over and yelled at the guy to move his car from in front of his house.  Apparently the neighbor told him to call to cops so we'll see what transpires.

I personally will be avoiding said crazy neighbor.  Just glad we're leaving soon!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our goodbye party

Karl and I threw a party last week so we could gather all of our friends together one last time.  It was such an emotional night, but I managed to hold it together until everyone had gone home.  It's hard when I realize that not all of my friendships will survive my move.  Some will, and it will make those friendships even stronger.  I think I will be surprised at who decides to keep in touch and who doesn't.  I have extended an open invitation to every single friend to come visit me, and I hope that at least half of the people that say they will come actually do.

Here's some photos of the evening: (thanks Erin!)
Charlene (my internship buddy)
Terese and Maria - my OCYF buddies
Barb and Randy - Karl's work buddies
What is up with Willow's face???
Jaycen and Jen - Our favorite duo and Willow's second parents
Katie - my Michaels' buddy
Did you notice that Willow was playing a very obvious game of Where's Willow?  I had no idea she was such a camera hog.  Seriously, we weren't trying to get her in these pictures.  She just couldn't control herself...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Worst. Day. Ever.

In short, because I am completely ready to climb into bed and never get out again, this was definitely one of the worst days ever.  Without question, it was my worst worked related day.

I have an infant on my caseload on life support due to physical maltreatment.  I don't know what to say other than that...  Please think good thoughts for this little cutie pie?  I'm so upset I've been perpetually nauseous since I found out.  I've unfortunately had to deal with lots of injured kids in my time in child welfare, but never has something like this ever happened on an open case of mine.  I'm so upset I've been perpetually nauseous since I found out.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Going to the Flea Market

Karl and I are planning to go to Trader Jacks (a local flea market) to sell all of our odds and ends that aren't worth enough to list on Craigslist.  I'm (surprisingly) off all weekend, so I'm hoping to dig through all of our stuff and start boxing up what we plan to sell.  My goal will be to come home with absolutely nothing, because anything that makes it back into the will likely have to be thrown out.

The hardest part about getting things packed is knowing that we will have house guests in the weeks leading up to our move.  Karl's brother and his girlfriend, and probably his niece will be staying with us for at least several days over the 19th to the 24th, and Karl's dad will be with us from the 26th until the day we leave.  Makes it a bit harder because I need to leave extra bedding out, as well as so most of our cookware. Karl and I would be perfectly content eating spaghetti and ramen for the last two weeks, but we'll probably end up eating more legitimate meals if there's other people here.

We also ordered a big pack of Spacebags, and as soon as they come I plan to take down all of the curtains and pack up my stuffed animals and such.

Slowly but surely!!  I am really hoping to be as completely finished as possible before the holiday weekend, so I can use all of that time to visit with friends and family before I go.

In other news, Willow's harness and muzzle fit perfectly.  She absolutely hates the muzzle (not surprising), but seemed minimally content with the harness.  Let see how she likes it after 80 hours of wearing it in the car!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's final!

I put in my resignation at work today - it seems very surreal!  Makes me realize how quickly these next couple weeks will pass.  It seems like just a day or two ago when I was counting from 19 weeks til the move.  It's still a bit early to do final preparations for transfer on my cases, but that will really be when it hits me that I'm leaving and not coming back (at least not planning on it!)

Keeping the Puppy Safe

Traveling across the country with a dog is going to make this adventure even more interesting.  Luckily, Willow loves the car so I'm hoping that will translate into only being a little aggravated with being stuck inside it for 8 days.

We ordered a doggie seatbelt for Willow yesterday to hopefully keep her from falling off the seat or getting hurt.  In 4000 miles, it's pretty likely that we'll have a sharp turn or two, or have to stop quickly.  Definitely don't want Willow going face first into the window!  We'll see how well she puts up with wearing this...

Bergan Dog Auto Harness (Amazon)
Speaking of Willow getting aggravated, the muzzle we ordered will sure do it if the harness doesn't.
Guardian Gear Lined Muzzle (Amazon)
Willow doesn't play very nice with other animals (although she loves people and kids to pieces).  I'm nervous about rest stops and campgrounds along the way, because there is the definite potential for lots of other dogs to be around.  People don't seem to have any interest in keeping their dogs leashed, so I want to make sure that we avoid any unpleasant encounters.  Hopefully it will be a non-issue, but I think it's better to be safe than sorry in this instance.  I really like that it's black, so it won't really look like she's wearing anything from a distance.  I don't want people to think I have some crazy aggressive dog that is going to eat them and their children, because that is the furthest thing from the truth.

Karl got another free trial of Amazon Prime, so we got free 2 day shipping.  I hope we ordered these things in the right size, otherwise we'll be in a rush to send them back and get new ones before we leave!

Monday, June 6, 2011

One month to go!

We leave for Alaska one month from today!  I'm really starting to feel like it's crunch time - there's still so much to do.  We have way more furniture left than I would like, and four little weeks isn't a lot when half the people on Craigslist are just screwing with you.

The pile of boxes in the corner of the dining room seems impossibly large, but it started looking a little less unrealistic once I taped out the size of the trailer.  (Am I weird for doing that?  Cause it seems totally reasonable to me...)  Too bad we still need to fit the dining room table and bed into that little square!  I also packed up most of my knick knacks, so the house is starting to look a little sad.

Twenty days of work left!  I think I might put in my notice tomorrow...

I love me some moosies

My good friend, Terese, gave me the greatest going away present.  She guaranteed I would squeal when I unwrapped it, and she was right!
These placements and kitchen towels will look absolutely perfect my Alaskan cabin!  I would love to put them out now, but I think packing them up and using them for the first time in AK will be such a wonderful reminder of Terese.

My dear friend, Erin, also got me (Willow) a collapsible doggie water bowl for our trip.  The bowl has a carabiner attached, and my first thought was "Hey, I'll attach it to my belt loop!"  Erin pointed out that it was actually there to hook to the pup's leash.  At least I felt a little better when I showed it to Karl and he said "Hey, there's a carabiner on it - I'll attach it to my belt!"  At least we're both goofballs...

This was such a great gift idea, and something I somehow hadn't even considered.  We were just planning on using old Cool Whip containers, which isn't much of a space saver.  This bowl will be perfect for our traveling bag.  Willow gave it a lick too and seemed to like it!

Getting such thoughtful gifts really remind you what wonderful friends you have!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Can I send you a letter?

I wanted a special way to collect all of the contact information for my friends I'm leaving behind in Pennsylvania.  Getting a boring old address book and writing everyone's address and phone number in it just wasn't going to cut it.  Instead, I made these cute little cards that I could pass out and have everyone fill out.
Having everyone hand write their own info was really important to me, too.  I wanted to be able to look at each card and see a little bit of my friend in it.    The cards are the perfect size to put in a photo album, and this was my selection:
I'm usually of the mindset that the whole "live, laugh, love" phrase is overused, but I thought it was appropriate for my project.  The cards look so great inside, too.  It's so bright and cheerful, and will hopefully always remind me of how important all of the people inside have been to me.
I can totally see myself pulling this out when I get a little homesick, just to remind myself that all I need to do is pick up the phone, write a letter, or send an email.  I'm so glad that I thought of this before I moved, so I am actually able to put it together!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Butterflies are one of my favorite things ever.

Check out my butterfly treasury list on Etsy.

I kind of want every single one.  Too bad it's not my birthday!

Spearmint Soap

I had some leftover dried spearmint and peppermint leaves from my garden last summer, and I knew that I should use them up before we moved.  I decided to go with spearmint soap, since everyone seemed to like the peppermint soap I made at Christmas so much.

Well, I totally hit it out of the park on this one!  This may possibly be the most refreshing bar of soap in the history of the world.  I kind of want to keep the entire batch for myself!  It also turned out such a lovely shade of green due to the french green clay in the recipe. 

My peppermint bush is back stronger than ever in the front yard.  You can see how large the leaves are in the picture above.  Seriously, it's starting to look more like an oak tree than a peppermint plant.  I think I'm going to let it grow for the next couple weeks, then cut it all down, dry it, and bring it with me with the rest of my botanicals.
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