Wednesday, August 31

Craft Time With the Girls

Microwave puff paint, another fun kiddo craft courtesy of Pinterest!  Here's the blog post that I found via Pinterest.

Basically it goes like this:

1 part self-rising flour (I used the substitute listed in the front of my BH&G cookbook)
1 part salt
water to make a paste
food coloring

Paint it onto heavy paper or cardboard, and microwave it.  Most of ours took 10 seconds to puff and dry.  I did 5 second intervals, checking between each.  A great rainy-day activity!

the paint in a mini-muffin tin, ready to go

painting in action
after you zap it in the microwave
our gallery of masterpieces

Monday, August 29


We all survived the first day of Kindergarten!  Kelsey was excited and had lots of fun.  Stacy had her buddy Austin over to play, so she wasn't as lost as she would have been otherwise.  I was a bit teary taking this picture of her at her desk, but made it through without crying. more week and my baby heads off to preschool.  Let's see if I can make it through that one without crying, too!


Wow...first day of Kindergarten here today!  Stay tuned for pics and an update...hopefully I'll be able to post something later on.

In the meantime, enjoy these pics of the girls after their haircuts on Saturday night.  After much discussion about what 'bangs' were and what they looked like we discovered that was indeed what they wanted.  Sooooo...I let go of how *I* wanted their hair to look and cut bangs for them.  And you know what?!?!  They're pretty darn cute (if I do say so myself...)!

Kelsey, ready for kindergarten!
Stacy, ready for preschool!

Friday, August 26

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, August 25


She's home!  I have nothing but good things to say about Canon's repair service!  The problem was fixed under warranty, and I was without my camera for only 11 days.  And I live in Alaska which slows all things postal to a crawl!  
As you can see, I had a little "welcome home" gift waiting for her.  Just a little something fun to personalize her and let her know how much I missed her!

Welcome Home, Miss T2i!!

Wednesday, August 24

The Summer To-Do List...checking back in

Monday I promised to update you on our summer 'to do' list, so here it is!

Not too shabby, eh? Of course we technically have a little bit of summer left.  After all, the first day of fall isn't officially until September 23!  But since school starts on Monday (and it's been raining pretty much non-stop for weeks!) it sure feels like fall!

We'll definitely be making the list a summer tradition.  It was fun to plan out our days with such simple, fulfilling activities.  I'm even thinking of making a similar list for winter to keep track of the things we're looking forward to doing.  And when those late-winter doldrums strike in March, maybe it will help us remember the fun we've had!

Monday, August 22


Yikes...we are almost there!  This week marks our last week of summer break here in Whittier!  School starts K-12 next Monday and preschool starts the following Tuesday, after Labor Day.  Where did time go?

On Wednesday I'll share an update on our Summer List.  When I made the list I didn't really expect that we'd do it ALL.  And we haven't.  But we sure have been busy and have crossed many things off.

I am off to BBQ (Happy late Birthday to me!)  in the rain this afternoon, however!  I had hoped for a dry afternoon, but no such luck!  Good thing we planned it under cover.  After all, if we can BBQ in the snow, the rain should be no problem!

Friday, August 19

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, August 17

A Surprise Sunny Afternoon

I love these sorts of days!  The sort where the weather forecast calls for party crummyness, followed by intermittent miserableness, but then...out of nowhere...the sun shines!  Saturday was one of those days.  It rained all morning, but then the sun popped out and we had a lovely afternoon.

The girls and I decided to take advantage of the break to get outside.  We headed up to the head of the bay to see if we could spot any salmon making their way up Shakespeare Creek.  The tide was up a bit too far, but we were able to have lots of fun anyway!

They jumped back and forth across this spot...

They waded...

They threw rocks...

They got a little wet...

And got a little goofy! 

We love a sunny afternoon, don't you?

Monday, August 15


I feel so naked, so alone!  Like I mailed my right arm off.  Which I guess I have in a manner of speaking!  My wonderful camera is off to visit the Canon repair shop in sunny California.  They promise to have her back to me in about two weeks.  Which is quick, I know.  But two weeks without my good friend.  I cringe to think about it!

I dropped her off in Anchorage today, hoping to shave at least a day off of her journey.  Hurry home!

A Morning in the Sun

One sunny and breezy morning last week, Chris and I decided to take the girls over to the Portage Valley to see the spawning salmon heading up stream and to take a little hike.  We planned to wrap up the morning at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and picnic there.  What a wonderful way to spend the morning!  Although it was quite windy here in Whittier, we found it to be just perfect on the other side of the tunnel.  Sunny, warm, and just enough wind to keep the ever-present bugs down.

First stop, the fish viewing station...

Then a little hike...

Kelsey watching for fish
Stacy watching for birds
beautiful Portage Valley
Then a visit to the Conservation Center...

Stacy and Jack the moose

Kelsey and Jack
We all enjoyed ourselves and we were home for afternoon rest time...what a lovely way to spend a morning!

Friday, August 12

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, August 10

Time in Talkeetna

Our friend Porter is turning 3 this weekend, so we piled into Nana Diane's van with our friends Austin and Stephanie and headed up to Talkeetna to visit. We had lots of fun playing with Porter, holding his baby brother Callen and making him smile, visiting the Talkeetna park, and enjoying a delicious lunch at Mountain High Pizza Pie.  Here are some fun photos from our visit:
Stacy, Porter, and Kelsey picking watermelon berries

Kelsey adoring Callen

Kelsey and Austin on the xylophone at the park

Kelsey and Austin on the slide

Stacy and Porter on the swing

Austin catching Stacy on the slide at the park

all 4 big kids

on the way home...
Happy Birthday, Porter!  Hope you have lots of fun at your dinosaur birthday party this weekend, and thanks for sharing your home with us!

Monday, August 8

Craft Time With the Girls

A while back I joined Pinterest.  A huge timesucker, but also lots of cool inspiration for just about anything.  Photo poses, craft projects, sewing projects, gift ideas, etc.  It works like a virtual bulletin board where you can "pin" pictures as you browse the web and it pins the picture and remembers to website where it comes from.  One step up from 'bookmarking' in your browser because you get the visual aspect of it.  You can also find 'tastemakers' whom you can follow as well as hooking up with your friends who are madly pinning away as well.

As I was whiling away a naptime some time ago, I came across the following idea:

image source
 What fun!  Last week while it was raining (and raining!) the girls and I gave it a try. 

Turns out it takes a long time to fill in basic shapes with pencil erasers, so we ventured into fingerprint art. 

Stacy's work

Kelsey's work

Mama's masterpiece
The girls had lots of fun with these projects, so I ordered this book from the library.  Should be fun!

image source

Friday, August 5

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, August 3


It's no secret that kids love boxes.  They are the perfect vehicle for open-ended imaginative play!  I have a couple of box sharks on my hands.  We have a strict 'one box per child' rule in effect most of the time, otherwise we'd be taken over by cardboard boxes.  When a new one arrives from the mail or the store, the kids can choose to trade theirs and they often do.  When we grocery shopped on our way home from the airport I got two matching boxes.  Little did I know what fun they would be!  The girls have been playing with them for a week and a half solidly now!
I thought I had taken more pictures of this, but I guess not!  So far they have been stacked on top of one another and made into doll bunk beds, taken apart and used as cars, set on the couch and used as doll car seats, and then today they were turned upside down and made into horses.  Everyone got in on the fun!

Yes, that's another box you see in the background!  Our neighbors got a new dryer and I couldn't keep myself from asking for it.  Today it was a barn for the horses.  Now...what will they turn it all into tomorrow? 

Tuesday, August 2

New Pillow

We have some couch pillows that I made last year.  They were starting to look a little dingy between being used for naps, TV watching, and any number of kiddo uses, so I made a new case for this one!  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  Now I just need to brainstorm a new idea for the other one!

Monday, August 1

Our New Play Kitchen

If you are my mom or my husband, you have heard me complaining at length about the space our play kitchen takes up, relative to the play it receives.  Play kitchen = big, amount of play = little.  I have been trying to get rid of the darn thing since shortly after we got here.  I even put it in the basement for several months, but the kiddos wanted it back badly enough that we negotiated a trade...give away some toys and you can get it back.  Still...very little play.  So we got some new kitchen stuff and new play food for Christmas.  Still...very little play.

So today I pointed out some cracks in the plastic and the girls and I decided we should make a new one since our old one was "falling apart".  There are so many wonderful play kitchens out there, but we have such limited space that this is what we came up with.

We harvested the faucet and burner knobs off of the old kitchen.  In the lid of the tote where we store our kitchen stuff I cut a hole and we put in one of their bowls to serve as a sink.  I'd like to find a slightly bigger one, but this suffices for the time being.  We hot glued the old faucet onto the lid and poked little holes to put the burner knobs in so they still turn (Stacy is turning them for you in this picture!).  The burners are cut from some red corrugated plastic that was formerly shelves in the old kitchen.  So now the kitchen and the toys are all in one spot...I love it already!

The girls had fun making it with me, and played with it until we were ready for lunch.  That's more play than the old one has gotten in the last 3 months!  And the best cost us $0!


What an adventure!  After arriving home from our Washington/Oregon visit last Sunday we partially unpacked and then repacked for a day trip to Kenai to try our hands (and nets!) at dip netting.  Dip netting is an Alaskan adventure, that's for sure!  Really all you need is a fillet knife, a pair of scissors, a cooler, a net, and a pair of chest waders.  Of course I brought the kids so we also needed 3 changes of clothes, rain gear, towels, snacks, lunch, toys, movies, more towels, and a few more snacks.  We loaded it all into our friend Nana Diane's 7 passenger conversion van along with Nana herself and her corgi, Tug.  The van was fairly full!

Kenai is about 2.5 hours from here and we're usually able to make it all in one shot.  Coming off of an 8 hour drive on Friday, a 4.5 hour flight on Sunday, an 2 hour shopping trip and 1.5 hour drive home on Sunday, and a trip back to Anchorage on Tuesday for dentist appointments, the girls' traveling reserves were low.  Very low.  Enter the DVD player!  Tinkerbelle rescued us and we made it to Kenai without pulling each other's hair out (or our own, for that matter!).

Once we finally made it, Nana stationed herself up on the beach and kept the kiddos well entertained and fed.  It was great for the girls to get to catch up with their pals...they all ran countless laps in the sand!

Stacy, Austin, and Kelsey
The other mamas and I donned our chest waders (yes, I now own my own personal pair!) and headed out.  This is what we looked like for most of the day.

Andrea on the left, Stephanie in the middle, Linda on the right
Of course we had to climb out of the river from time to time to tend to the kids, feed ourselves, etc.  But mostly we stood out there with those nets.  And caught fish!  13 sockeyes (reds) between the three of us!  Dip netting season is most of July along the defined areas at the mouth of the Kenai river.  You are catching them as they head upriver to spawn.  Apparently this was an excellent year for it, even better a week or two before we arrived.  It is referred to as 'subsistence' fishing, or 'personal use' fishing. As an Alaskan resident your limit is determined by the number of people in your household.  The head of household is allotted 25 fish, with an additional 10 for each member of your household.  That left us eligible for 55 fish.  Way more than we could use in a year!  The rules are quite strict on what you can do with the fish as well.  You are not supposed to give any away to other people, since they are designated 'personal use'.

As we caught them we gutted them and cut their heads off.

me, having WAY too much fun gutting that little guy
VERY happy to have finally netted one!
We three pooled ours, then met up at our house the next day to fillet them.  We are anything but efficient, but we had fun and split our fish four ways so that Nana could also benefit from our bounty.  All in all it was a very fun day--and we've made plans to go again next year!

Porter checks out our catch as we load up

13 fish worth of fillets