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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Might this be our Neighborly Moose?

Apologies for the awful photos - Unfortunately, you can't expect much more from Karl (especially not when he's using his iPhone).

Mama moose across the street... Baby moose was two houses down munching on his breakfast.

Nibble, nibble, nibble...

Look both ways before crossing the street...

Nibble, nibble, nibble again...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our little black bear

Isn't she just precious?  As cute as she is, Willow is darn near impossible to photograph - makes me all the more appreciate of the few good ones I can get!

I wish I had the luck to get a picture of her doing something stupid - like when she ran out into the snow on Sunday and face planted right into the ground.  Oh puppy, I'm sorry I laugh at you but I just can't help it sometimes!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tiny Plane, Away!

Yesterday was my first opportunity to ride in a plane smaller than your typical three-seats-on-each side, 40+ row kinda plane.  I was only headed down to Kenai (around a 4 hour drive), but chose not to brave the mountain pass in the throes of winter.  My fear of sliding off the side of the road, landing in a ditch, and slowly freezing to death while out of cell phone range was enough to have me booking a flight in a nice, safe airplane.

The views from the plane were somewhat obstructed as it was a pretty overcast day here in Anchorage, but an aerial view of the sea ice coming into the inlet made up for the lack of visibility otherwise.  After we crossed the inlet, I got my first glimpse of the sun bursting through the clouds.  The sun can be deceiving, however, as it was just three degrees when I got off the plane!  Despite the cold, Kenai is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon (although the majority of it was spent working).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Too cold to do much of anything...

I admit it, I've been feeling like quite the slacker for the last week.  I blame the weather - it has been cold! Last week started with 30 mile an hour winds (which are rough when it's only 10 degrees out), and progressed to sub zero temperatures.  These were my morning conversations with my dad:

Me: "Hey, guess what the temperature is this morning?
Dad: "8 degrees."
Me: "Nope, five below!  But hey, my car still started!"

Me: "Hey, guess what the temperature is this morning?
Dad: "5 degrees."
Me: "Nope, ten below!  But hey, my car still started!"

Me: "Hey, guess what the temperature is this morning?
Dad: "8 degrees."
Me: "Nope, fifteen below!  But hey, my car still started!  It sounded like a dying animal, though."

Noticing a pattern going on here?  

What do you do when it's that cold?  Why hang Christmas lights outside, of course!  I had to come inside to warm up several times because I was pretty sure I was experiencing the early stages of frostbite.  Probably not my greatest idea, but the house looks so pretty.  Maybe I'll some get pictures of it for Wednesday - I am NOT going out there to get any tonight!

I also noticed that the guest bedroom window has a nice sheet of ice on the glass.  On the inside.  Probably not a good thing.  It's not even that cold in there - that's the really scary part.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Moonrise, Sunset

This was just one of those times when you happen to look out the window at just the right moment...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oh Christmas Lights, how I adore you...

Say what you will about BP, but they rock my favorite holiday lights so far.  I love moose and I love Christmas lights, so what could possibly be better than combining the two?

I've been wanting to head over and get some photographic evidence, and we finally made it out a few days ago.  Only one security guard came over and wanted to know why I was standing there, on a cold, dark night, taking pictures of the BP building.

Just makes me happy every time I drive past!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Day in the Snow

Karl's dad invited us out snow machining this past Saturday, and we jumped at the opportunity to spend some time having fun in the snow.  I apologize for the crappy photos - I took my old digital camera, but the memory card decided it didn't work.  These are courtesy of my cell phone...

First it was off to the gas station to fill them up for a day of playing.  I figure Alaska is one of the only places in the country where you can ride your snow machine down the road and right up to the pump.  

Only five minutes after we left the gas station, we ran into some friends also out enjoying the day.

We kept going and ended up getting on the Iditarod trail.  It was absolutely beautiful, and we wound our way through narrow trails through the woods.

Scarily enough, I was apparently responsible for riding my own snow machine the whole day - Karl told me I wasn't allowed to come if I was going to ride with him!  I guess I needed to learn sometime, and I only managed to get myself moderately stuck twice.  It's tough getting used to hanging your entire body off of the side to make sure you turn when you want to!

One of our many breaks - Karl's uncle met up with us and was having some considerable problems with his snow machine.  Gave me a chance to rest my hands (they kept cramping up from holding the gas on), but it gets a lot colder when you're sitting around doing nothing!

An easy way to tell we were on the Iditarod; three dog teams passed us at various points throughout the day!  It's amazing how well behaved those dogs are, but I don't think they've ever been give a bath.  They left quite the smelly dog aroma in their wake.

We finished off the night by stopping at the inlet to look across at Anchorage (the bright spot in the picture).  Again, sorry for the awful photo - using a camera phone after the sun has set does not make for a quality image.

All in all, it was a beautiful day for a snow machine ride.  It snowed lightly, and stayed right around 25 degrees.  I'm looking forward to our next trip out, despite the fact that I am so sore I feel as though I was run over by several trains!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Felt Christmas Tree Centerpiece

My other project from last weekend's crafting mayhem was a felt christmas tree centerpiece, based on this pattern.

I was initially searching for something that resembles the candy cane tree at my Dad's, but no such luck.  I'll have to look at it closely when I'm home for the holidays this year so I can recreate it.  In any case, this project fit perfectly with my hankering for felt as of late.

Unfortunately, hot glue guns appear to be my arch nemesis.  A few bits of glue stuck to your finger is par for the course, but a massive burn blister on my index finger is probably an indication that I have less coordination than previously thought.  At least my stitching didn't result in any bloodshed or other injury.

 I found some cute gingerbread man embellishments that ended up looking just too cute.

 I think I'll take this to work so I have some holiday spirit while doing paperwork!  Hmm, I should probably wait a few weeks to take it in so my coworkers don't think I'm too odd.  I admit though, I feel like I'm in the Christmas spirit extra early this year because of all of the snow outside!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ruffled Camera Strap

Here's a project for you, Laura, with your new sewing machine!

I was in serious crafting mode this past weekend, and one of my projects was to beautify my camera strap.  After a trip to Joann's (oh fabric, how I love thee), I came home with these colors:

It was a pretty straightforward sewing project.  I made a tube out of my pink polka dot fabric, turned it right side out, and hand basted it to create my ruffles.  I usually machine stitch when I ruffle, but apparently my $1 thread was too pathetic for that, so hand stitching it was.

I sewed the ruffle to the black fabric, and then made another tube.  This makes my strap cover completely removable, so I can easily change it out as I find a new fabric to love.

I also added a little pocket to hold my lens cap, which will likely be of huge importance.  I've only lost it/dropped it/left it in my pocket a few dozen times...

The best part of this project:  It cost less than $5, which is my kinda price!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Snowy Sunday, take 2

Looks like Sunday mornings seem to be the day to look out the window and be surprised at the amount of snow that accumulated overnight.  This is what I woke up to yesterday morning:

All told, it was probably another 6-7 inches on top of the 2-3 inches that was already there.  This is already more than accumulates all winter in Pittsburgh!

Luckily I went and got my snow tires this week.  Cost me an exorbitant amount of money, but have already made it a hundred times easier to get around.  It doesn't appear that the roads are cleared very often (ever), as our road still hasn't been plowed.   Honestly, I'm not sure where all the snow would go even if they did plow.  It already seems like the piles from the driveway and the sidewalk are piling up, and it's only November!

No worries about Willow getting used the snow.  There are two things she loves: running through tall grass, and running through snow.  Yesterday was no exception, as she went tearing through the snow, grunting and snorting the whole time.

As I write this, big fluffy chunks of snow are falling again.  Hey, who needs a gym membership if you can shovel snow every day?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cinnamon, Sugar & Pie Crust, Oh My!

Pumpkin pie is by far my absolute favorite pie ever.  Banana cream is a close second, but that is beside the point.  I baked up a couple this weekend: one for home, and one for our potluck at work.  I had to buy a special mix for the crust, as one of my coworkers can't tolerate gluten.  The mix ended up making WAY more pie crust than you could possibly use for two pies, so I went to my Dad's tried and true recipe when you have extra pie crust dough.  I think most families have some sort of variation on this...

Start by rolling your extra dough into a rudimentary rectangle.  No need to be too much of a perfectionist for this!  Slater it in butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and white sugar.  The more sugar the better, at least for my taste buds!

Roll it up into a log...

Cut it into what looks like mini cinnamon rolls...

And bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes (or until golden brown).

Do they look perfect?  Nope.

Are they delicious?  Absolutely.

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