Wednesday, May 30

Miscellaneous Stuff and Such

This is going to be a bit of a random post!  A little of this and a little of that...

First up...our new door color!  They recently (using the term 'recent' in a generous sort of way) painted all of the doors on our floor and gave us all matching gold apartment numbers.  Like many projects here in the building there appears to be a randomness to how it was carried out.  And it's not *quite* done.  Regardless, if you come to visit you'll no longer be looking for our drab brown door (pictured here).  Look for this instead!

Please also take notice of my new programmable combination door handle!  My wonderful husband installed it this weekend.  I recently locked myself out of the apartment (again!!) with the bathtub running.  After two frantic calls to after-hours maintenance, two attempts by the aforementioned maintenance with the wrong key, and two very panicked little girls (who decided they needed to go potty in the middle of this fiasco!) we finally got back in.  The bathtub was about two inches from overflowing.  It was quite an experience!  I went on to drop my car keys down the elevator shaft two weeks later.  Keys and I...apparently a bad mix!

Here's Scott and the girls watching one of the Star Wars movies this weekend.  I can't remember which one, but they were pretty into it!

Yesterday we made our summer to-do list. These have totally gone viral in the bloggy world! was a fun way to keep track of our adventures last summer and the girls asked for it, so we worked on it periodically through the day.  We have already crossed one thing off...we painted toenails yesterday afternoon!

And finally, today's adventure!  The girls and I grabbed a whole bunch of cardboard from the recycle pile in the garbage room and brought it home to make doll furniture from.  The inspiration came from here (she has a link to a pdf in her right sidebar), though we scaled ours down a bit for Barbie-sized stuff.  They are loving it!

Whew!  We made it through all of that random stuff...if you hung in with me, thanks!

Monday, May 28

Memorial Day Outside

I'm a little late posting today, but it's that time of year!  When the sun comes out we drop what we are doing and go out, too!  The sun played peek-a-boo with us all day, so here's what we were up to...

Hot chocolate and bagels (with coffee for mama!) at the Lazy Otter...

Some chalk art in front of the fudge shop...

A picnic lunch and some fun on the beach at the head of the bay...

Some fun in the snow...

And some fun in the mud... you can see, we made the most of our sunshine!  Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day as well.  A heartfelt thanks to those we remember today; those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedoms.

Friday, May 25

{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, May 24


Lookie what I finished!  It is nicely packaged into a box and headed up to Fairbanks tomorrow. Follow its progress here and here and here....


Wednesday, May 23

The End of the School Year

When we moved to Whittier I didn't know much about our school here and I knew nothing at all about our school district.  I am pleased to say that has changed!  I had no idea what a phenomenal experience being involved with both our local school and our school district as a whole would be.  I have talked about my adventures as a school board member here a bit, but what I want to talk about today is much more personal--the experiences and opportunities my kids have had being a part of Whittier Community School.

Here are some amazing activities or experiences that the girls have had the opportunity to be a part of this year:
  • a magic show in conjunction with an art day with two other area schools
  • *truly* personalized learning--every single day!
  • setting a goal, working towards that goal, and the pride that comes with reaching that goal
  • learning about medieval times through making costumes, having a feast without silverware and acting out jousting in a safe way. 
  • a morning spent tide pooling to wrap up a unit on ocean life
  • cross-age activities
  • learning from community members
And I could go on and on!  Are these experiences unique to Whittier Community School?  As a teacher and a mother I can tell you that they are not.  Every day across this great nation millions of students go to school in thousands of incredible schools and are taught by amazing teachers.  It's not often popular to sing the praises of schools, teachers, and students in this time of slashed funding, high stakes testing and the ever-raising bar.  Somehow it has become acceptable to label schools, teachers and students as 'failures'.  Somehow, as a society, we have completely missed the point!

This is my absolute favorite quote about education:

print available here
It is so true!  Sometimes I think that when we look at the data about schools, teachers and kids we forget the human factor.  We forget how much learning takes place when we sit down and share a meal and conversation with kids.  We overlook the importance of hands-on experience.  We downplay the impact that teacher's enthusiasm has on kids and their own enthusiasm for learning.

I feel so grateful to be a part of Chugach School District and Whittier Community School.  This is an organization that really "gets it".  Every single day!  Teachers are empowered to make decisions that will benefit kids.  Teachers are trusted to choose curriculum and teaching methods that will be most effective for each kiddo.  Parents are given the opportunity to play as large a part in their child's education as they want to.  Community members are welcomed into the school to share their strengths with adults and kids alike.  Staff is always available to talk to parents and to help kids with homework.

I am fortunate to know our teachers here in Whittier and across the district on a personal level.  I know firsthand how deeply they care for kids; how far 'above and beyond' they go to help kids to succeed; how committed they are to their profession, their students, and their communities.  I have seen them cry, seen them chip in to feed a kid lunch, seen them open their homes to kids who need help with homework at 9pm, and seen them set an example of what a productive and positive member of a community looks like...and I am proud!  Words cannot express how grateful I am for the myriad learning opportunities my girls have had this year.  When I look back at who they each were in September I am so proud of how far they have come.  Sure, they have learned to read, to write, and to do math.  They have also learned independence, felt confidence, experienced success and failure, been encouraged and been reprimanded when needed. 

So thank you!  Thank you teachers of Whittier, teachers of Chugach School District, teachers of Alaska, teachers of the USA.  Thank you for getting up every morning and caring.  Thank you for working until 10pm and working on weekends.  Thank you for waking up at 3am thinking about a cool way to present a lesson and thank you for brainstorming in the shower about how to reach a particular kiddo.  Thank you for making a difference in the lives of kids, even when society, the media, the government, and often the parent of those very kids is down on you.  Thank you--because being a teacher is not what you do.  A teacher is who you are.  I am proud to know you! 

Monday, May 21

A Trip to the Movies...and More!

This weekend Stacy finally decided what she wanted for her birthday "thing" was to go to the movies.  Scott and I started this a few years ago.  Instead of buying the girls a gift on their birthdays we let them choose a family activity that we go do together.  Kelsey chose skiing, but Stacy has been paralyzed by indecision.  Kinda like her mama in that way!  Anyway...once the decision was made we jumped on it rather than travel down the road of 'I changed my mind...'.  We went to see The Pirates! Band of Misfits.  It was OK...not great, but not terrible.  No matter...the girls had fun!  They even asked me to curl their hair for this special occasion!


After the movies we visited our friends at Glacier Fudge and Espresso at the Anchorage Market and Festival for some ice cream cones.  Yum!  The market always has fun stuff going for kids--huge watercolor paintings, sidewalk chalk, and balloon animals.  It's always a stop the girls are excited to make.  A fun day!

Today it was dry here in Whittier so we headed outside.  We ended up (as we often do) in front of one of our favorite local hangouts, the Lazy Otter.  Today our first ship of the season was in, so it was the perfect place to hang out, visit with people and enjoy the mostly sunny skies!

Look at that wagon full of fun! We wrapped up the night with a last-minute BBQ with friends at the triangle. Welcome summer!!

Friday, May 18

{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, May 16

Very Pinteresting!

I have made no secret of the fact that I have fallen for Pinterest.  Lots of fun stuff over there...and lots of wasted hours!  They're not all wasted however...I have made several things inspired by things I've seen pinned, the girls and I have done projects I've spotted there, and I've tried lots of new recipes.  Lots!  A few of them lately...

Breakfast Braid

Yum! I used a loaf's worth of dough the last time I made bread and tried this...everyone loved it!  Recipe here.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole
Hello!  The main ingredient is spuds!  How can you go wrong???  I only used half the sour cream (because that's all I had) but I think it would have been better with the full amount it calls for.  Still, it was delicious and another hit all around the table.  Recipe here.

Corn Dog Mini Muffins
Another hit...though mine had a tendency to stick in the pan.  Grrrr!  They were yummy though...and I don't even like regular corn dogs!  Recipe here.

Breakfast Muffins

Fabulous!  We used sausage and grated cheddar instead of American cheese.  Another big hit! Recipe here.

Mac-n-Cheese Bites
 Yum!  This is a great mac-n-cheese recipe AND a great way to cook it if you like those browned bits of cheese around the edge of the pan.  Every little serving has some...perfection!  Recipe here.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
 Yum!  The texture is different, but they're good!  I got 30+ cookies out of this recipe and it says it yields 15...guess mine were much smaller! Recipe here.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars can you go wrong with that combo?  I made these for a bake sale a few weeks back and bought one for myself.  Holy desserts!  Absolutely delicious.  Looking at the picture again makes me want to go make another batch...  Recipe here.

Of course, not every Pinterest recipe is a hit.  I have recently tried two that I would make differently if I were to make them again...if.  But still, half of the fun is in trying new things and I am so glad that my family is willing to try just about everything I set in front of them!

Monday, May 14

Weekend Crafting

As previously mentioned, the weather here this weekend was dookey.  Ugh!  So we did what seemed best...ventured out only for food!  We hiked down to the harbor for dinner on Saturday and a treat yesterday.  Otherwise we were hunkered down inside.  The girls made any number of things (and messes!) while I cranked out these fine items!

First up, two dresses!  Made from this tutorial, and lengthened from shirts to dresses.  Cute!  And even cuter on a little body!

And next oven mitt! I burned a hole through one of mine, so I needed to replace it.  Wal-Mart has been out of them (!) the last two times I looked, so I gave up and made one.  I have another half made, but ran out of red thread.  Grrrr!

I really like the new one...nice and cheerful!

Mother's Day

Hehe!  Two years ago I got a special pedicure we played on the playground for the first time of the season.  Fat chance at that this year; the playground is still under at least 6 feet of snow!  But it had to be better than last year's, right?!?!  And it was! 

The girls were so sweet, waking me up with snuggles and gifts they had made me in school.  Scott is out of town for a bit, but they handled it all quite nicely, even "taking me out" for ice cream.  The weather here is crummy...windy and slushing/snaning/squishy raining--whatever you want to call it, so we had to dress in layers, head to toe rain gear and rubber boots to get to the ice cream shop, but we made it!

Yesterday we had a little photo shoot in our living room, so here are the two cuties who make me so proud to be their mama!


And although it's slightly out of focus, I just have to share this one because it makes me laugh!

Friday, May 11

{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.

Breakfast with Daddy...via Skype on the iPad!

Wednesday, May 9

Two Wheels

Wow!  The girls transitioned from trikes to bikes last April and Kelsey gave up her training wheels in June.  She amazed me with how she just did it--she was actually a better rider right away without training wheels than she had been with!  Stacy decided today was the day on Monday and had a very similar experience.  She just took off!  I was a bit worried about how she would take the falling--she's a bit more easily discouraged and dramatic about scrapes and bruises than her sister is.  No worries though...there were a few tears after a few hard falls, but for the most part she took it in stride. 

My little girls are growing up!

Monday, May 7

Dr. Seuss Quilt

Lookie!  Here's a picture of it while I was quilting it on Sunday.  Now I am working on the hand stitching of the binding.  The baby whose Grandma it is intended for arrived on Saturday.  Grandma will be down in Whittier visiting next week, so the timing is perfect! 

Spring at Salmon Run

Yesterday the kids needed a bit of outdoor time, so we checked the tide book and headed up to Salmon Run.  It's one of our favorite places in Whittier and we visit often in the summer time.  This is what it looked up at Salmon Run in late February.  That's the bathroom building.

There's much less snow now, though still plenty!  We trudged over at least 4 feet of slush.

As always, winter changed the landscape a bit.  New driftwood has been deposited, the water channels are a bit different, and the shoreline has been eroded.  We had a really rough storm in the fall (the day the liquor store burned down!) that happened in conjunction with a very high tide.  There was massive erosion down along the shoreline at the harbor, too.

It was pouring (and I somehow got all of the kids' rain gear but forgot my own raincoat!) but we managed to have a good time anyway!

Kelsey's class just completed a mini-unit on Alaska sea life, so she was delighted to find lots of snails, mussels and barnacles in her exploring.  She was particularly taken with this log and the crack in it.  "Look at all of the things living in this wide crack!" she exclaimed.  

When we were all frozen, we headed home for hot chocolate!

Friday, May 4

Birthday Craftiness

The Saturday before Miss Stacy's birthday Scott took her out for hot chocolate while Kelsey and I worked on these two projects.  Stacy had been looking forward to getting her own twirly dress since she and I made Kelsey's in February, so she was quite delighted to open hers on birthday morning!  As soon as I wash it she wears it again, so yes...she's already stained it!  Oh least it's loved!

The other thing we whipped up was a "5 shirt" as it's become known around here.  The shirt is more purple than this picture shows...darn late night indoor photography!  Stacy likes it...that's what's important.  And Kelsey had so much fun sitting on my lap, making gifts for her sister.  Precious moments those are...

{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.