Friday, August 29

{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 27


I spent a few days in Homer last week with teachers in our district at their annual back to school inservice.  I know I have gone on and on about how awesome teachers in our district are, but this inservice is just one more example.  They give up a week of their summer to go...they don't even gt paid!  Awesome dedication that is greatly appreciated!

I left on Sunday afternoon and saw this baby moose on my way down...his mama must be close by!

We saw some beautiful sunsets...

Enjoyed some time in the sun on the beach...

The focus of inservice was bringing the maker movement into classrooms.  So fun and so many learning opportunities.  We did lots of hands-on learning.  Here's my little bot-family...

They all move in various ways.  So fun to create!  We also got to make a submersible bot to play with.  We didn't get to bring that one home, but holy cow...what fun!

It had an underwater camera on it, too.  I am so excited to see how teachers implement this in classrooms around the district!  So many amazing opportunities for kids!

Monday, August 25


I was browsing through pictures this weekend and realized that I had forgotten to share about the day the girls went flying!  Like almost everyone in Alaska, we have a friend who has a plane.  Flying in Alaska is like driving in the lower 48--totally commonplace.  According to this website, Alaska has the most pilots per capita in the US, 1.313 active pilots per 100 people.  The second most are in Montana at .407 per 100 people.  Anchorage is home to Lake Hood, the busiest float plane base in the world with an average of 190 takeoffs or landings per day in 2005. 

Anyway...back to the story.  Scott and I went flying around Denali last summer with this same friend and had a blast.  This summer it was the girls' turn.  They flew from Lake Hood up to Trapper Creek to pick up a friend.  The weekend they tagged along was also the weekend of Arctic Thunder, so they were able to take off on time, but missed the window for their planned return so the airspace was closed for a bit.  To kill time they flew to Talkeetna and had an early dinner at Mountain High Pizza Pie in Talkeetna.  Sounds pretty ritzy, huh?  When the airspace opened they headed back home. 

I sent them with their iPads for cameras and here are the pictures they came back with...

Friday, August 22

{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.

Friday, August 15

{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 14

Camping--Museum of Transportation and Heading Home

After breakfast we headed out Wednesday morning.  We were headed home but planned to stop at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry on the way.  We stopped on the way out of the campground for one last picture.  It was cloudy, but not as dark as this photo makes it look!

The museum was so neat!  This fun airline stove was in the ladies restroom, along with an old bike. 

If the stuff in the restroom is this cool then you know the place is going to be worth your time!  When you think about it, transportation and industry are two very broad categories.  There was a little bit of everything here!

Air travel history...

Automobile history...

Snow machine history...

Communication history...

Railroad history...

Chainsaw history...

Boat motor history...

And the list goes on!  The great part about this place is that they have an extensive outdoor collection.  It's a great place for kids to roam and wander, especially on a nice day like the day we visited!  There are even two bits of history from Whittier!  This old ambulance...

...which formerly resided in Scott's shop, and this old fire truck.

Lots and lots of neat things to see!  If you like museums, I highly recommend a stop at this one.  This was our last stop on our girls' mini-vacay.  We had a quick lunch in Wasilla and headed on home.  It was a very fun couple of days...we're already excited about more camping trips next summer!

Wednesday, August 13

Camping--A Day In Camp

After spending most of the day in the car on Monday we stayed in camp on Tuesday.  The weather was nicer and we were happy to only hop in the car to go get ice for the cooler!

We had breakfast and the girls washed the dishes.  They actually washed most of the dishes on this's always more fun to do those daily chores in a different setting!

After our chores were taken care of we went for a walk.  We checked out the lake...

The girls were ready to swim right then, but it wasn't quite that warm so we compromised on after lunch.  There is a great sand play area in the middle of the campground, so they spent the next couple of hours there...

We ate some lunch and then headed back to the dock area for some swimming.  The water was chilly so the girls were in and out a lot.  Then they discovered that jumping was the perfect activity...only in the water for a minute and fun!!

Back in camp we had some dinner and went for several bike rides around the campground.  It was so quiet and easy to fall asleep...mama might have fallen asleep before a certain 8 year old, even!

Since we were leaving the next morning we also packed up most of our stuff...then we climbed the hill behind our spot and took this picture...the girls insisted we should!

Monday, August 11

Camping--Hatcher Pass & Independence Mine

The girls and I took a 3 day camping trip last week...we had so much fun!  We left on Sunday and we camped at the South Rolly Lake campground.  Since we weren't there on the weekend it was very empty and pretty quiet.  It's 6 miles from the highway which was so traffic noise!  It's still light until around 11pm right now, so Sunday night there was a family playing volleyball until nearly 11 and falling asleep was hard for all three of us.  It rained during the night and showered on Monday so I decided it would be a good day for a car-based adventure.  I've wanted to explore Hatcher Pass for several years now and we were within 3 miles of the turn off so we went for it!

I think people more often do the loop starting from Palmer and ending in Willow, but since we were so near Willow we did it the opposite way.  It really was a beautiful drive!  A good portion of it is unpaved, but the road was in good shape so it really wasn't a big deal to us.  We spotted this mama moose and her baby having some breakfast just a little ways out of Willow.

The road follows this creek (which I believe is named Willow Creek) most of the way up the valley.  It's an active mining area, so there are lots of signs warning you off of personal mining claims.  There are also lots of beautiful bends in the creek like this one.

As you approach the top of the drive you are far above the treeline and treated to views like this.

That big pile of gravel coming down the hill is an old mine.  In person you could see the little hole in the side of the hill.  The tops of the mountains are so jagged!  Pictures just don't do it justice!

At the very top we stopped at Summit Lake.  Very pretty!

It was a great place to get out and walk around the lake.  From the parking area you can also look down at the road you've taken up the hill.

From Summit Lake you turn and head back down the next valley which eventually leads you to Palmer.  Before you head down though, you can stop at the Independence Mine.  This place was so amazingly cool! 

The mine was opened in 1934 and operated until 1943 when it was ordered closed as a result of WWII.  It opened again briefly in the late 1940's and closed permanently in 1951.  In 1980 the donation of the mine lands and buildings to the state became official and it was designated a state park area.  Some of the buildings have been restored, others are in the process, and still others had collapsed in the 30 years it lay abandoned. 

The park offers guided tours, $6 for adults and $3 for kids.  This was money well spent!  The tour takes you inside of the mess hall, the apartment 4-plex built for mine engineers and such, and one of the bunkhouses.  The guy who led our tour lives onsite and was the best kind of tour guide.  You could tell he really loves his job, where he lives, and the history of the place.  He was happy to answer questions and hung around after the tour and chatted with folks for quite awhile.  I took *so many* pictures while we were here, but here's one of my very favorites.  If you'd like to see all of the rest they are on Fotki

After the mine we headed back down and into Palmer.  I wanted to go to the Colony House Museum, but no luck.  I always try on a day they are closed!  I think the whole Matanuska Colony endeavor is so interesting!!  Instead we went to the Palmer Museum and Visitor's Center.  Scott and I had been here before, but the kids hadn't.  They had this fun area where the kids could try on hats from the late 1930's and floursack dresses!

There is also a community garden onsite where the kids got to see a giant cabbage growing and a rhubarb plant that was as tall as they were!

We made it back to camp in time to roast some hot dogs for dinner and have some tasty s'mores for dessert!

Nutella instead of Hershey bars for s' of my best ideas ever!!