Monday, August 30

Some Kids

*Some* kids require a stick through the gills to hold a fish (I recall a picture of my 3 or 4 year old self holding a fish this way!). Then there are other Kelsey. Kelsey who excitedly welcomed the salmon Scott caught yesterday into our family. She immediately asked if she could hold it by herself and then kissed it and held it close. Stacy was a bit more reserved, preferring watching to touching.

As you can see, this fishing spot is hard on the eyes! With our picnic dinner and ice cream cones from the Lazy Otter, it was the perfect way to spend an evening!

Friday, August 27

This Week's Recipe--Cinnamon Bread

image from Pioneer Woman

Ohhh!! This turned out to be every bit as yummy as I had hoped!

The Recipe
PW posted this on her site on Tuesday and I printed it right away. I had to! You can too, her printable version is available here. And you should!

Andrea's Kitchen
No substitutions here! The only thing I did differently was that I didn't brush the top of the loaf with egg whites. I forgot. But it browned very nicely without it, so no biggie!

The Verdict
I was able to let the loaf *mostly* cool before digging in. It is fantastic! I might use a bit less cinnamon sugar next time, just because I couldn't get it all onto the dough...maybe I should have rolled it a bit thinner. Either way, it's delicious! The girls loved their slices toasted for snack time today.

Really, you owe it to yourself to try this! Next time I think I'll try subbing 1c. of wheat flour for 1 c of the all purpose, just to make it a tad healthier. Right now I'm just hoping there's some left for breakfast tomorrow!

Thursday, August 26

In the Oven...

Well, because it's been that kind of week, today's recipe is still in progress!

Mmmm, doesn't it look good? It's Cinnamon Bread from Pioneer Woman.

image from Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls. Only it's bread!

My mom used to make something like was delicious toasted! I hope this one will be, too.

Stay tuned for results this afternoon. And next week I'll be back on the ball, I promise!

Wednesday, August 25

Fish On!

Me relaxing on the bow of the boat

If you'll remember, my last halibut trip (which was supposed to be my first) was a bust. So when Scott came home on Monday night and asked if I wanted to go the next day, the answer was an immediate "yes"!

We arranged for the girls to spend the day with the Burgoon-Duffus family (Josh, Stephanie, and Austin--thanks a million!) and Scott and I headed out with Captain Day of Prince William Sound Eco-Charters.

In short, it was an amazing experience! The fishing was fun, the weather was perfect and the scenery was spectacular. My catch for the day amounted to two halibut and a yellow eye rockfish, pictured below. Scott caught a Pacific Cod, which he chose to release. A couple from Georgia was also on our trip, celebrating their 26th wedding anniversary with a 5 day Alaskan Adventure. It was certainly off to a good start, I'd say! They took home 3 halibut, a smaller one, a medium sized one, and a larger one.

view on the way out

views of Prince William Sound near our fishing spot for the day

the day's catch for Andrea

filleting the day's catch

waterfall in Blackstone Bay

Monday, August 23

Cinderella's Skeleton

This is what I turned around and saw this morning.

"Cinderella, I'd like you to meet Mr. Skeleton."

"Mr. Skeleton, meet Cinderella."

(Oh that I look at you again Cinderella, I'm sure you're acquainted with Mr. Skeleton...after all, you're not much more than a skeleton yourself!!)

Saturday, August 21

A Week in Review

What a fun and busy week we've had! After returning from Homer we spent a few days exploring Whittier. Then Wednesday we headed out to Anchorage to check out the Native Heritage Center, the Anchorage Museum, and visit Seavey's puppies on a kennel tour.

The Native Heritage Center was our first stop and really the first tourist stop I've been to that hasn't lived up to my expectations. Overall we found it somewhat lacking in information...but it was a nice day and we did get to take a walk around their little pond so all was not lost!

We dined at Playland at McDonald's, then dropped Auntie off at the Anchorage Museum while the girls snoozed in the car. Scott and I had visited the museum previously and really enjoyed it. After naptime we swung by the Anchorage location of Seavey's kennel and played with a litter of can't go wrong with little kids and puppies! After dinner Wendy and I tackled the Portage Pass's short, steep, and beautiful!

Thursday was my birthday and I was spoiled from the start! Wendy cooked me breakfast, got the kids fed and dressed, washed the dishes, and helped them wrap the suitcase full of goodies my mom sent up. They then baked and decorated a cake and fancied up the whole house while I strolled around town enjoying the wonderful sunshine. In the late afternoon we headed out to Shakespeare Creek at the head of the bay to watch the salmon, then packed up dinner for a picnic up at Salmon Run. It was a wonderful way to spend my birthday! After dinner Wendy and Scott took the quad to second Salmon Run and then also hiked up to Horsetail Falls.

Yesterday Wendy and I took the girls on a short hike up to see the Byron Glacier on the other side of the tunnel. It was 1.6 miles roundtrip and Kelsey walked the whole way. Stacy walked most of the way, although she was a bit more vocal about it! It was a gorgeous view. After the hike, we headed over to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center where the bears were awake and showing off.

Today's Saturday and Scott and Wendy are out on a charter with Captain Rob of MJ's Bread and Butter Charters. Hopefully they have a fun time and Wendy comes back with some fish!

Monday, August 16

A Weekend with Auntie

Whew! Poor Auntie! She landed around 8pm on Friday night and we had her loaded back into the car by 8am on Saturday!

We headed south, stopping in Ninilchik to teach Auntie how to dig clams. We did pretty well, and Auntie had fun so I declare it a success! After clamming we headed farther south to Homer where we stayed at the Land's End Resort. Turns out that it's owned by the same people who own Kenai Landing where Scott, the girls and I stayed in June. Anyway, we puttered around in Homer and visited the hotel pool, a big hit with the little girls.

Sunday morning we visited the Pratt Museum, which was a teriffic museum. Lots of things for kiddos to see and do, as well as for adults! Kelsey got to try on a child-sized survival suit--Stacy could have too, but chose not to.

After a picnic lunch we headed back to Ninilchik for more clamming, and then made a big push for home. 3 hours with only one brief stop. Needless to say, none of us wanted to get into the car today!!

More adventures with Auntie are in the works...stay tuned!

Friday, August 13

A Few Thoughts About Visitors

1. It's very fun when they come!
2. It's very fun while they're here!
3. It's no fun at all when they leave!!!!
4. It's very fun when the next one arrives!

In short, I'm so glad to have had all of our visitors this summer and we look forward to all our future visitors as well. But I don't like it when you go home!!

And that sums up my feelings on that subject! :-)

Wednesday, August 11

This Week's Recipe--Razor Clam Linguine

image from Edible Seattle

If you've been following our story, you know that our freezer got stuffed with clams last weekend. My kiddos love to eat the fruits of their labor, so we had clams for dinner on Tuesday. Kelsey requested clams and noodles. Probably because last time we went clamming we had tried out Pioneer Woman's linguine with clam sauce. It only turned out so-so (although I had to make some substitutions, so that's probably why!) so I wanted to try something different this time. After some Googling, here's what I came up with courtesy of Edible Seattle.

The Recipe
1/4 c unsalted butter I used salted
1/4 c olive oil
1 c finely chopped onions I used 2t dried
2 cloves garlic, minced I used s1t diced from the jar
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 c dry white wine I used 1c. chicken broth
3/4 pound linguine I used 3/4 pound angel hair pasta
1 1/2 c razor clam meat, chopped into half-inch pieces
1 1/2 t dried oregano, or 1 T chopped fresh oregano I 1 1/2 t italian seasoning
1 c finely chopped fresh parsley (loosely packed, chopped before measuring)I omitted
red chili pepper flakes, to taste (up to 1 T) I omitted
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish I forgot...but it would have been good!

Heat water in large stockpot to a boil for the pasta.

Melt butter and oil together in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until almost tender, about five minutes. Adjust heat to medium-low, add wine, and simmer for about 10 minutes, reducing liquid by approximately two-thirds. When you add the wine, add the pasta to the boiling water, and cook according to package instructions.

Add clams, oregano, parsley, and red pepper to the reduced sauce; simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to heat clams through. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss sauce with cooked linguine and Parmesan in large bowl. Serve immediately, topped with additional cheese, if desired.

Andrea's Kitchen
Well, from looking above, you can see that I followed the recipe *exactly*! I didn't even realize how many things I had changed until I started to type this up! Anyway...I did follow the cooking directions at least!

The Verdict
MMMMM! Even though my version may not look much like the original, everyone at our house was happy with it. I will try to remember the parmesan next time as I think that would really add to it. It's a do-over for us which is good since we've got all those clams from last weekend in the freezer and we're going clamming with my sister again tomorrow!

An Alaskan Weekend

Wow! What a fun and busy weekend we had!

On Friday Moo Grandpa (Scott's dad), Scott, the girls and I went out with Captain Dave for a halibut trip. The girls were so very excited to be going fishing with Daddy and Grandpa. At first they told me that I needed to stay home...luckily I was able (with some help from Scott) to convince them it would be OK if I tagged along. In the end we ended up with a nice little sightseeing trip. We had some engine trouble, so we stayed close to home and trolled for salmon. No luck on the salmon, either. Here's the only fish we caught. Much to the girls' dismay he was too small to keep. Luckily they were so enamored with the boat trip that the lack of fishing wasn't too big of a deal for them. More fishing pictures here if you haven't seen them already!

On Saturday we headed out for Ninilchik to go clamming. We dug on Sunday and Monday, netting 160 clams on Sunday and 204 on Monday. It was sunny and warm...much different from our first experience! Mama also remembered to bring the girls' gardening gloves, so little fingers were warmer and drier...a very good thing!

Sunday afternoon it was raining and we needed to get out of the cabin, so we loaded up and drove the 45 minutes south to Homer. We did a quick driving tour, stopping at Mickey D's for dinner and enjoying ice cream at a shop on the Homer Spit. The major attraction for the girls was all of the halibut filleting that was going on along the sidewalks and boardwalks since most charters for the day were back in port. Both girls are very interested in fish, their bodies (in particular their eyes) and the whole sea to plate journey. One particular filleter was very accomodating and even cut open a fish belly to show Kelsey the little crabs and fish he'd been eating. Needless to say, she was impressed!

Stacy is helping this clam give her a kiss!

Monday afternoon we headed home at naptime. The girls slept most of the way, making it a pretty smooth drive. The sun followed us most of the way home, so we enjoyed lots of scenery.

At home, Scott and Chris spent at least 3 hours cleaning clams while I took care of the "putting away" that follows any trip...blech!

More Sunday clamming pictures here.
More Homer pictures here.
More Monday clamming pictures here.

Hope you had a great weekend, too!

Friday, August 6

Gone Fishin'

image from here

No recipe this week! We're out on a halibut charter today and then clamming for the weekend. I'll see you all next week!

Wednesday, August 4

All Decked Out

I know I've posted about our favorite boots before, but I still love 'em! They're the only warm rubber boots I've ever worn. They're synonymous with Alaska in general and Whittier in particular, often referred to around here as 'Whittier Wear'.

When Scott and I recently went to take pictures of the Northwestern (of Deadliest Catch fame) and out to a local eating establishment I pulled on my XtraTufs, pants tucked in since it was raining. In the elevator Scott commented about taking me out in my rubber boots, so I untucked the pants to show how the boots can easily go from 'day wear' to 'night wear'! :-) He was laughing at me...until we arrived at our destination to find one of my friends out with her hubby, also sporting the ubiquitous boots!

Anyway...yesterday the girls, Gpa Moo and I headed up to Salmon Run where the salmon are finally running! The girls had dressed themselves in sweet little dresses, then added their boots to complete the ensemble and to allow for dry feet while throwing rocks in the water. I can't help it...I just loved the look!

Monday, August 2

Pony Rides

If you've been around my kids for more than 5 minutes you've probably picked up on the fact that they *love* animals! From bugs to lions, they're fascinated by them all. On Friday we checked out the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage. It was lots of fun, with the petting zoo being the highlight of the entire trip. You can check out photos here if you haven't already seen them.

Since I'm a teacher through and through, I've used this love of animals to also spark an interest in non-fiction reading. You know you're a teacher when you steer your kids towards books at the library thinking "This book has great text features!". But library steering aside, both girls area bit infatuated by horses. Naturally then, the trip to the Anchorage Market with Moo Grandpa to take part in the pony rides was bound to be a success. And it was! Both girls were delighted to get to ride the ponies. As the story was retold to every human being who would listen, Stacy described in detail her lack of fear and even pointed out that "It was a live horse, too!" to distinguish for her listeners that this was NOT a carousel horse ride! Kelsey has been planning the acquisition of her own horse for quite some time now, so another pony ride as only served to strengthen her equine desires.


happy to be riding

happy to be riding

waving to her fans

waving to her fans