Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Frozen Marbles

A few weeks back I got an idea off of Pinterest to try.  The method is to fill balloons with food coloring and water and  put them outside to freeze. After the water has frozen, cut the balloon off the frozen ball the end result is a big frozen marble. With our temperatures dipping well below zero, we have the perfect conditions for freezing some water balloons!

Tanner spent a good portion of the day running to the window to look at his balloons. "Balloons Freeze?"
It took us two days, from the time we filled the balloons to the time we actually made it outside to check on them. Brandon has been replacing the flooring in the kitchen and was having a hard time finishing up before lunch and nap time. Today he made it happen.

With the temperature hovering around -30F around 11:00am, we started peeling the balloons off of the frozen balls outside but ended up finishing inside.

Finishing up inside.
Our frozen marbles minus the one I dropped and broke.

Tanner had fun with the whole process.  He kept trying to pick them up and move them around.

I'm not really sure what we'll do with them now.  Look at them out the window and then leave them for the next homeowner to stare at.  Or maybe we'll have fun crushing them or see how far we can all throw them out into the yard.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner

We spent our last Alaskan Thanksgiving, in our home of six years, surrounded by friends and family who all reminded me of just how thankful I am for the life I am privledged to live.

Our day started shortly after 5:00am. Though it wouldn't have been our choice to wake up at 5:00am to feed and play with the littles, Brandon and I made the most of it and started on our pies. We were up late the night before searching for the perfect recipes. Brandon made an apple pie and I made a pecan. We both chose different crusts to use and made a bit of a competition as to who's would turn out the best. I think that they both turned out equally good.

After making my Pecan Pie I made cranberry sauce. Brandon's cousin Christy made it last year for us when we went to her place for Thanksgiving. It is by far my favorite way to eat cranberries.


2 cups cranberreis
Juice and chopped zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup Port (I use water)
1/2 cup sugar, or more if needed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

In a small saucepan combine cranberries, orange juice and zest, water, sugar and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmering and cook until cranberries are tender, stirring occasionally. In a small cup make a slurry with cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Whisk cornstarch mixture into cranberry sauce and cook, whisking until sauce thickens. Taste and add more sugar, if necessary.

The rest of the day was spent preparing the Turkey and all of the sides. Brandon found an injection recipe to use. The end results were superb. We feasted on a very moist, flavorful bird.

With all the sides dishes we had enough food to feed many more people than we had. We made sure that everyone took home a few containers for left overs.

The morning after Thanksgiving I enjoyed a yummy slice of Brandon's Apple Pie and a hot cup of creamy coffee for breakfast!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sale Pending

We have  had our house on the market for seven months now and for the last two weeks we've been going through the motions of selling the place that we've called home for the last six years.

We are due to PCS to our next duty station in July of 2013.  Rather than waiting until the last minute to try to sell our house we put it on the market in April to give ourselves a year to get it sold.  We cleared all the clutter from our home leaving us with the bare minimum to live with. We took tons of pictures of the inside and outside to make flyers and to post online.  I was sure that it would be snatched up as soon as the For Sale sign went up on road at the end of our driveway.  That wasn't quite the case.  We attempted to do a For Sale By Owner for the first few months.  We advertised on the Eielson Base For Sale site, where people peddle their wares, like on Craig's List.  We listed our house on Craig's List as well as a Military site that specifically targets selling to military personnel.   We had one family look at our home and they were so interested they told us not to show our home to anyone else, that they were going to go get pre-approved to buy.  A few weeks went by and the potential buyer contacted Brandon to tell him that they had been pre-approved for more money than they originally thought they would be and that they were going to find a house worth more than what we were asking.  Frustrated and feeling let down we sought out a realtor.

During the struggle of trying to sell on our own, the Air Force announced that they wanted to move the F-16 Fighter squadron from Eielson AFB to Elmondorf AFB in Anchorage. Since then the move has been put on the back burner. With the initial news, though, the housing market flooded.  Everyone wanted to sell their homes before they were stuck with them and no military personnel around to buy them.  Our house sat with not much interest until November.  We had a total of 3 showings since listing it with our realtor in June.  We had lowered the sale price 3 times.  Finally after having a talk with each other, Brandon and I decided we were going to take it off the market for the winter and try to sell again in the spring.  The day that Brandon was going to make the call, our realtor called us to say he had someone who wanted to look at the house.  We went through the motions of cleaning the house from top to bottom.  I baked pumpkin chocolate chip muffins so the house would smell inviting and then we prayed. I text and emailed friends and family and asked them to keep us in their thoughts.  IT ALL PAID OFF! Our realtor called to tell us the guy who looked at our house was deciding between our house and another and he needed until the weekend to make the final decision. The buyer had given himself three days to make a decision.  Thankfully we didn't have to wait that long.  We got a call the next day with an offer.  A low offer.  We counter-offered and were met with another offer.  We accepted and got our asking price.

Since accepting, we have prepared our home for the home inspection, water/well inspection, and home appraisal.  We have gotten the results back from everything but the home appraisal.  We have a few items we need to fix and have to have the home inspector come back to give his OK before we are all in agreement again. The closing date is set for December 12.

Yesterday we went and looked at an apartment on base.  It is a 3 level, 4 bedroom with a two car garage.  It has a fenced in back yard.  It is right down the road from the gym, commissary, BX, and less than 10 minutes away from Brandon's work.  Next Friday, the 30th, we'll get the keys to the place we will call home for the next 8 months.

I have had mixed emotions these last few weeks. I'm extremely thankful that we were able to get someone to buy our place before we leave in July.  The thought of having to pay for a house that we aren't living in, in a state that we aren't living in, is less than ideal.   The winter's have been hard on me in this house. There isn't much lighting, it's drafty and I feel isolated because I'm not much for driving on bad roads.  It'll be great to be on base with everything so close, especially with two little boys in tow.
I feel sad leaving the place that we brought both of our babies home from the hospital to.  Tanner keeps showing me the spot that he wants to put the Christmas tree up at.  He doesn't realize we won't be here for Christmas. I'll miss our big back yard and the privacy it provides. 

We have made lots of great memories in our home but I'm excited to begin down this road ahead of us, filled with new homes in new places! 

Carlie Marie Shope

My Sister-in-law and her boyfriend brought a beautiful baby girl into this world on November 10th at 2:03pm. She weighed 7lbs and was 20inches long. We are all so excited to welcome her into our family!

We ha Bridgett's boys stay the weekend with us while their mom was in the hospital. We had a great time playing outdoors, watching movies and reading books. We always have a great time with them when they visit.


Halloween 2012

Pretending I took my kids to a pumpkin patch for photos.
We bought Tanner a dragon costume this year to wear trick-or-treating. He was super excited to wear it until we got him home and had him try it on. After that it was all over, he wanted no part of dressing up. We had an old lion costume of Tanner's, for Dillan, but we didn't even bother putting it on him.


Brandon and the boys decorated and carved pumpkins. We baked seeds and also made some slime to play with.

Soaking in water and salt.
All done.
Maybe next year will be the year of costumes, parties and trick-or-treating.