Tuesday, January 31

Making Me Smile!

Last year it appeared on February 4.  The year before on February 3.  This year...January 31!  This has been a rough winter and realistically we still have several months of winter ahead of us.  But it feels like spring is just around the corner when the sun starts shining on Whittier again!

Help me...PLEASE!!

So...I need some help! 

I really had fun with the January photo-a-day thing and I am going to continue it on into February.  The thing is that I can't decide if I should keep posting all of those photos here or create a separate blog for them.  Do you like seeing all of that when you come here or are you here mainly to read what's going on up here?

I know that my reading audience aren't big commenters, but *PLEASE* help me on this one.  Just leave me a quick little note in the comments section letting me know if you'd prefer one blog with it all, or two blogs--one with the usual Northern Lights Mama stuff and one with the photo a day.  *PLEASE*! 

Thanks for your help!

Photo a Day--Day 31

Today's subject:  You, again!

I got a remote for my camera, so here's a shot I took while playing with it!  Pretty exciting outfit, eh?

Monday, January 30

Photo a Day--Day 30

Today's subject: nature

It's dark out there today!  And gray.  Supposed to start snowing any minute, and overall it's a dreary day!  But Alaska is truly a beautiful natural paradise on a sunny day, so I'm thinking about spring...and remembering last spring!  Here's one of my favorite pictures from last March...


Recently someone here in town handed down an old paper making kit to us.  Kelsey has been begging to do it, so yesterday we finally tackled it.  10+ years ago (gasp!) during my first year of teaching I was lucky enough to have a visit from Debbie who was at the time doing outreach and education for Fort James Corporation.  My dad had introduced me to Debbie when I worked at the mill during the summer.  Debbie came and did an outstanding job of making paper with my students and teaching them about the process.  I tried to remember as much as I could from that visit since our kit came without the instruction manual!

First we tore up some paper scraps (that I had fished out of the garbage--yeah for recycling!).

Then we dumped them into the blender.  We added some water and blended them up!

We dumped our puree (pulp into the dishpan).  Because I don't have 6 hands I didn't photograph the next couple of steps.  I added more water into the dishpan because you really need the pulp to float.  Then we submerged our screen, put our top screen on and pressed out some excess water.

We removed some excess water by rolling as well. 

Then I put them on our cooling racks to allow them to dry a bit faster with better air circulation.

I am hoping to convince the girls to use them to create Valentines...I'll let you know how that goes!

Sunday, January 29

Photo a Day--Day 29

Today's Subject: your fridge

I cheated a bit with this photo and took it a little early.  I took the "before" half on Wednesday night before we went grocery shopping and the "after" half on Thursday night after grocery shopping.  As you can see, we needed to go!

Gee...aren't you glad that I labeled them for you?  As if it isn't painfully obvious which is which!

Saturday, January 28

Photo a Day--Day 28

Today's subject: light

Friday, January 27

Photo a Day--Day 27

Today's subject: lunch

My photo: Kelsey eating lunch!  Kelsey's class has been reading The Knight at Dawn, part of the Magic Treehouse series. For the last two weeks they have been learning all about medieval times and today was the culminating day of those studies.  They made shields, banners, and helmets.  Today they had a feast where they ate with their fingers, no utensils! Finally, they wrapped up the afternoon with some hockey stick-pony jousting.  So fun!

{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, January 26

Photo a Day--Day 26

Today's subject: color

Clearly this picture wasn't taken today, but when I think about color I think about this picture...I love it!  And it reminds me of warmer times...

Book Review--The Search Committee

The Search Committee is Tim Owens' first novel. It follows the search committee from a southern small-town church as they travel the surrounding area trying to choose a new pastor for their church. There are bumps in the road along the way, and at times the story moved a little slowly for my taste.

The characters are developed in a very believable way. Many of them are so easy to relate to that you feel as if you've known them for awhile. As the search committee travels around we also learn a bit more about each character and his or her own personal struggles.

The high point of the book for me was the use of actual sermons as a part of the story. The authors are credited in the beginning should you want to read more. The author chose powerful excerpts to illustrate his story.

Overall a good book, if a bit slow!

Thank you to Tyndale for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, January 25

Photo a Day--Day 25

Today's subject: something you made

My photo: pizza crusts!  I have made 33 of them in the last two days for a school fundraiser...

Snack Cards

I don't know that this is exactly considered a "craft", but I made it so I guess it might be!  Anyway...we have hit a snacking rut here.  The kiddos are hungry, but they are never quite sure what they want to eat.  What's a mama to do??  Make snack cards!

I spent a few minutes the afternoon taking pictures of all of the snack possibilities that we always have on hand, then created a Word document where I put the picture and the word for the snack together (like flashcards), printed them out, covered them with Contact Paper, punched holes in them and hung them up.  Now we have a quick reference to check when we're stumped at snacktime!

Here's hoping it helps snack time go a little more smoothly!

Tuesday, January 24

Photo a Day--Day 24

Today's subject: guilty pleasure

My photo: Pinterest!! 

One of my favorite quotes applies here..."If you enjoy the time you spent it wasn't wasted!"

Monday, January 23

Photo a Day--Day 23

Today's subject: something old

My photo:  buttons from Grandma

Gettin' Outside!

As I'm sure I have mentioned here a time or two, the weather here is challenging.  Winter brings, wind, snow, and ice.  And more wind.  And more snow.  And more ice.  And so on...  So when it's decent outside we drop everything and go out.  We had a nice break last week after our snowpocalypse.  As soon as it stopped snowing the wind picked up and blew snow all over town.  The wind howled on and on and the temperatures plunged to near and below zero and we weren't able to go outside for 10 straight days.  We were all experiencing a touch of cabin fever, let me tell you!

Things settled down midweek and although the warmest temp we saw while outside was 5 degrees, the girls and I went out for 3 days in a row.  It's very unusual for us to see temps so cold...average winter temps here are in the upper 20's.  This winter has been different, that's for sure!  While heading to Girdwood the other day Scott and I saw temps as low as -36 degrees.  Yes. -36 degrees!  Ridiculous!!  Regardless, it was decent enough to go out for a little bit at least.

Saturday was another nice day.  A friend and I decided to hike up behind the BTI.  In the summertime it looks like this:

But right now it looks more like this:

Slightly different, eh?  It was a h.a.r.d. hike up and we didn't make it quite to the top.  The snow on Saturday was very windblown and hard (that was before temps went up 30 degrees and we got 24 inches of new snow on Sunday!).  The top is very steep and we reached a point where it just didn't seem safe to continue on snowshoes.  Not to mention the wind was blowing at the top making it very chilly, even though we were working hard!

So here's the view from the top...breathtaking, isn't it?

It was a great day to get outside!  We ventured down to the harbor where these two were keeping an eye on things.

We met up with Scott and the girls at the Inn at Whittier and warmed up cups of hot chocolate.  Then the girls talked me into going sledding.  Needless to say, I slept like a rock!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend as well!

Sunday, January 22

Photo a Day--Day 22

Today's subject: my shoes

I don't have a very exciting shoe collection!  I did just order two new pair for an upcoming trip I am taking where I need to look less like a stay-at-home mom and more like a professional, though!  As I was digging through my shoes today I came across these lovelies...I wore them on my wedding day 10 years ago (come July 20!), so I thought I'd try them on again and share them with you...

Sorry...two weeks in a row that you've had to look at my feet!  I just checked the rest of the subjects for the month though, and I should be able to complete this challenge without and more shots of my toes!

Saturday, January 21

Photo a Day--Day 21

Today's subject: reflection

I had actually planned to be very artistic with this photo and take a picture of my journal and such, but then a friend asked me to go snowshoeing and I got this awesome picture with a totally different kind of reflection and I couldn't help myself...I just had to use it!

Friday, January 20

Photo a Day--Day 20

Today's subject: someone you love

{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, January 19

Photo a Day--Day 19

Today's subject: sweet

My photo: a sweet text message from my sweetie and a sweet treat!  

Wednesday, January 18

Right Now

Right now I am…

:: warming up after a jaunt outside…even a short walk at -2 makes for chilly cheeks in a hurry!

:: listening to a certain 4 year old narrate as she watches out the window

:: waiting for my heart to be ready to read another book after finishing the Hunger Games trilogy

:: eagerly awaiting March 23 when the first movie based on the above trilogy hits theaters

:: thankful for the sunshine that has shone on the mountains across the way for two days in a row now

:: hopeful my new mixer bowl will arrive tomorrow

:: loving my new jacket (posted below) and looking forward to wearing it someday when it’s a tad warmer

:: headed off to a parent meeting at school

Hope you’re having a great day, too!

Photo a Day--Day 18

Today's subject: something you bought

This is my latest purchase.  I have been admiring it for a long time at Old Navy and when it was on clearance AND everything on clearance was 50% off AND I coupon for an additional 15% off AND it was available in my size AND the color I wanted I figured I was *supposed* to have it!  And now I do!

Tuesday, January 17

Photo a Day--Day 17

Today's subject: water

My photo: The beautiful waters of Passage Canal in Prince William Sound in the sunshine.  That's very good news...sunshine on the water means that the sun is getting closer and closer to peeking over the mountain behind us and shining its warm golden rays on Whittier once again...just a few more weeks!!

Monday, January 16

Photo a Day--Day 16

Today's subject: morning

Morning time is often craft time around here!  Today the girls decided to make some more fairies, so that's what they're hard at work on below.

Backseat Crafting

This craft is so easy I did it in the back seat of the car on the way home from town on Saturday!

I found the idea over on Pinterest which linked it back to here. There are directions over there so I won't bother reposting all of that.

It is very bright and colorful--it will make a great door decoration as our birthday season approaches!  Just need to add some sort of hanger and we're good to go!

Sunday, January 15

Photo a Day--Day 15

Today's subject: happiness

Yes, of course one of those books from yesterday's pile is right next to me!  I finished Catching Fire today and am now into Mockingjay.  Great books!

Saturday, January 14

Photo a Day--Day 14

Today's subject: something you're reading

I love to read!  It's funny because last week I finished one of those a.m.a.z.i.n.g. books where you can't read anything for a few days afterwards because it was so good.  I didn't know what to read next.  Then all of a sudden I had this stack next to my bed.  I usually don't like to read two books at once, but I am right now and I'm loving them both!

Friday, January 13

Photo of the Day--Day 13

Today's subject:  in your bag

I don't really have a bag!  I have purse, but aside from the fact that I carry OFF wipes with me (it's Alaska folks!) there's nothing very exciting in there.  And since I only carry it to town, there's not much in it, either.  But speaking of town, we're headed there tomorrow and "get ready to go to town" is on my to-do list for today, so I decided to show you what it takes to "go to town" with two little girls this time of year!

The laundry basket in back holds everyone's winter gear.  Outer jackets, warmer gloves, etc.  The stuff you need to have with you, but can't really wear in the car.  The girls pack their own backpacks now, full of whatever they want to play with on the way to and fro.  Then we have water for mama and the girls, snacks for the girls, their blankets, and the bag of things to return "as long as we're in town".  Not pictured: my purse, camera, Scott's gear, and the gear we'll wear.

Thursday, January 12

Photo a Day--Day 12

Today's subject: close up

Wednesday, January 11

Photo a Day--Day 11

Today's subject: where you sleep

Well...when the kiddos were younger I could have taken a picture of just about any "sitting" surface in the house because I truly slept in all of them.  Couch, recliner, rocking chair, dining room table, you name it, I probably fell asleep there in those sleep-deprived days.  Now that the girls are reliably good nighttime sleepers and have mostly outgrown naps though, I mostly sleep here.  In my bed!  I once wondered if this day would come!

In case you're wondering, those two pieces of art are Korbe originals.  I blogged about them here last summer when the girls painted them for us.

Chevron Quilt

My inspiration...

image source
So far at my house there have been squares...

And half-square triangles

Then there was (and still is!) ironing...

Then sample laying out...

This is one of my quilts for Kelsey's NICU this year.  Last year's quilts and a little bit about the organization Lullaby Quilts can be found here0.  A bit about why I make these quilts can be found here.  This year I am making two again...one in pink and one in blue thanks to a fabric donation from my mom!  She bought it for another project and then changed her mind, so here I am, making it into quilts.  Yippee!

Tuesday, January 10

Photo a Day--Day 10

Today's subject: childhood

My photo:  my girls' fairy house...

Monday, January 9

In the Sewing Room

Ha!  Like that title?  If only I had a sewing room!  My sewing room is also the computer room and the playroom.  But it works!  I spent some time sewing this weekend and here's what I emerged from the back room with:

Two plus pillows made from the scraps of my plus quilt...

And this brightly colored project in the works...

I'll share more about that one later, but I can't tell you how happy it made me to sew with these bright colors when it was looking like this outside!  I have also started on my NICU quilts for this year.  I've got two of them in the works!  Hopefully I can show you something soon...

Photo a Day--Day 9

Today's subject: daily routine

My daily routine...a workout followed by a cup of coffee!


Wow.  We have really had some weather here for the past week or so!  Snow, snow, and more snow, interspersed by wind, wind, and more wind.  Here in Whittier we are not strangers to this sort of weather, but it is unusual to get it at this time of year--this sort of storm is more typical in March and April.  Other towns in Prince William sound, however, are not so prepared.  Cordova and Valdez been in the news, mainly because their populations are bigger.  The villages of Tatitlek and Chenega Bay (also part of our school district) are also getting hammered, but like Whitter they aren't getting much (any?) media attention.

On the up side, on the days of the heaviest snowfalls lately the wind has stopped, so the girls and I were out both on Thursday and Saturday.  It was fantastic!  Sledding on Saturday was the best!  We went out both in the morning and in the afternoon.  The bigger kids had been out mid-day and smoothed out a nice little run complete with a little jump that was just right for kids big and small, so we got to enjoy the fruits of their labor during our afternoon jaunt.

Here are a few pictures to illustrate our fabulous weather...

10am on Sunday morning--the car had been completely cleaned off and parked in a cleared out spot at 7pm on Saturday evening

A friend's full-size Toyota Tundra--parked Tuesday night, this picture taken on Saturday night as we prepared to dig it out.

 Our school playground...not so slowly disappearing!

Stacy and I on Saturday in the middle of our sledding-fest

Of course, the downside of all of this is that Scott hasn't had a day off in forever.  He and his crew have been plowing, plowing, plowing, and plowing some more.  Hopefully Mother Nature will back off soon and give them a break.  Until then...