Monday, September 29

Homer in the Fall

I had some meetings to attend in Homer last week, so I left on Wednesday afternoon and drove down.  I had plenty of time, so I stopped plenty of times to take in the amazing fall colors in the sunshine on the way down.  I took almost 300 photos and whittled those down when I posted on Fotki and I am whittling down more here, but still...fair warning: there are a zillion photos in this post.

I finally arrived in Homer a little after 6pm. Of course, I stopped at the Homer overlook.

From there I went to my hotel.  The group I was with booked us at the Land's End Resort.  I was in one of their Midship Bay rooms as they have them named.  It was a beautiful room with a beautiful view.  One thing that makes me laugh about Land's End though, is their funny little murphy beds. If you look at the virtual tour you can see it. It would fold out over the top of the counter/dresser area at the end of the bed.  The trouble is that it is too small for an adult, but too high off the floor for a kid.  I have used it before for my kids by taking the mattress off and putting it on the floor.  Just quirky!  This was the view from my little deck.

Not too shabby!  Later there was a sailboat sailing by as the sun set.  Seriously.  Does it get more picturesque than that?

I was in meetings all day so pretty much the only pictures I got were of sunrise and sunset.  Beautiful though!  Here are a few of my favorites...

Photography is so much about the light and here in Whittier we just don't get that sweet soft light very often.  We're completely surrounded by mountains, so the sun rises here long after it rises in other places and sets here before it truly sets.  I am reminded of how amazing those golden hours can be when I get to experience them in other locations.

I took this picture my first night in my hotel and texted it to a friend laughing to myself.  If I didn't live here I would have been pretty alarmed and maybe not slept so well.  Who wants to see this right next to tehir bed?

The next day it didn't seem nearly so funny when we experienced a pretty good earthquake.  Small shakers are pretty common around here, but this one was a bit bigger than our usual fare. 

All in all it was a great trip.  It was fun to go and fun to come home!

Friday, September 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.

Wednesday, September 24


When we lived in the land of fruit stands and gardens I was a seasonal canner.  I was also a gardener, composter, flower gardener, composting worm owner, food dehydrator and sometimes I even mowed the lawn!  Before I had kids I changed the oil in my car, too.  When Kelsey was a newborn I even still did it...just laid her down on the driver's seat and took care of it.  Once she started to move around though, it got more difficult and Scott took over that chore for me.  Woah.  I am way off track here!  Anyway...since moving to Alaska I haven't done much canning at all.  We don't live in a great gardening area and fruits and veggies that are worth canning are hard to come by and expensive.  This fall however, I got back into it a bit.  Last week the girls and I made blueberry jam and blackberry jam with berries that Scott's mom had picked and frozen for us.  Jam making made me all nostalgic and teary...just made me think of my amazing Grandmas and miss them!!  It was fun to teach the girls how and to tell them stories about their Great Grandmas.  They had fun hearing those stories, too...I heard them repeating them later in the day to other people.  Family is such a strong bond!

Back in August when we went dip netting with our friends we brought back some pinks that we wanted to can.  Life got super-busy though and they ended up in the freezer to wait for us to have a bit more time.  We found that time on Monday night!  It was the first time either of us had canned salmon.  We followed these directions from the extension office at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).  We learned two big lessons.  1) canning fish takes FOREVER and 2) the finished product is yummy, but is not very pretty to look at!  All of our jars sealed...I love that sound as the lids pop down.

It feels good to do some canning!  I looked something up in the canning section of my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook the other day and found the sticky notes I had there where I recorded how many jars of beans, peaches, and pears I had done in years past.  A fun look back!

Monday, September 22

The Summer List

In past years our summer list has been a colorful thing, hung on our door and much-consulted.  We made a summer list this year...on a random scrap of paper.  We did manage to hang onto it all summer and occasionally cross things off, but our summer was a bit faster-paced and a bit fuller.  Bigger kids want to do more stuff during the summer, I guess.'s our list!

  1. go to the Lazy Otter
  2. go swimming
  3. a bike ride outside of Whittier
  4. hike Horsetail
  5. hike Portage Pass
  6. try 3 new hikes
  7. camping
  8. take a trip with friends
  9. go dip netting
  10. go fishing
  11. go kayaking
  12. go canoeing
  13. go water skiing
  14. meet new people
  15. soccer
  16. sports camp
  17. family game night
  18. visit the library
  19. visit the doves
  20. visit the quail
  21. a picnic at Salmon Run
  22. bonfire
  23. have a back to school BBQ
  24. celebrate the solstice
  25. go tide pooling
  26. visit the conservation center
Not too bad, if I do say so myself!  As much as I don't want to admit that summer is over I think I have to.  It has rained here for umpteen days straight and I have already baked two pumpkin coffeecakes.  It's fall, y'all!

Friday, September 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, September 17

Making Chocolates

While we were down in Washington this summer, my uncle gave the girls one of these "Make Your Own Chocolate" kits.  I tucked it away for a rainy day and if you've looked at our weather lately you'll know that we've had plenty of rainy days in the past week.  I pulled it out on Saturday and we made chocolate!

Luckily the directions are on the web site because I somehow misplaced those...yikes!  The kit comes with two raw cacao beans and tells you how to peel them.  The kids were so excited, even though I warned them that they wouldn't be yummy because there was no sugar!

Don't you just love Kelsey's, "You were right, Mom!  Eww!" face?  They both spit it out!  We heated, stirred, heated, coooled, stirred, and finally plopped them into the little paper cups that came with the kit.  We decided to fancy our chocolates up a bit with some kosher salt, marshmallows, and toasted almonds.

These little treats were not only fun, but yummy too!  It was a good way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon.  Thank you, Uncle Carl!

Monday, September 15

Walking Tour

There's something new in Whittier!  Surprisingly, there's actually lots of new things in Whittier all the time, but this one is pretty cool.  It's our own walking tour!  It's incomplete because the road past the Buckner Building is closed due to road construction, but here's the rest of it.  Some day I will go take better pictures with my camera, but you'll get the idea with these from my phone.  Our weather here has been a bit wet lately, so I took these during a break in the showers last week when I talked the kids into a bike ride. 

It starts when you exit the pedestrian tunnel here on the south side of the railroad tracks.  The first sign is at the corner of Whittier Street and Glacier Avenue, right by Scott's office.  These two signs give a brief history of Whittier and a map of the walking tour. 

From here if you head east on Whittier Street you'll see this sign on what we now call the P-12 building which houses the City of Whittier Public Works Department as well as Whittier's Fire and EMS.  A portion of the building is also leased to the Great Pacific Seafood company for their salmon roe operation. 

Across the street is the building that Great Pacific uses for most of their operations.  I forgot to take a picture of what the building looks like, but here's the sign.

Right next door to GP is the Anchor Inn Store.  This building houses a store and The Prince William Sound Museum on the first floor with hotel rooms on the second floor. 

Now just keep on heading east down Whittier street and you'll see another Anchor Inn building on the corner.  This building houses our only year round restaurant on the second floor, some hotel rooms/apartments on the third floor, and a lounge on the top floor.  There's a public laundromat on the first floor.  Strangely however, we all call the lounge the third floor.  Who knows?!?

Now you can head up Blackstone Road when it reopens but since it is closed we will head up Eastern Avenue to Billings Street.  This is known as "the boathouse" around town.  It's owned by the same family that owns the Anchor Inn.  You can pay to store your boat or vehicle here during the winter.  We stored Scott's truck here one winter before we shipped it south.  In the summer the Prince William Sound Kayak Center operates out of this building.

Now, keep on walking up the hill on Eastern Avenue and turn right on Kenai Street.  There are two entrances to the Begich Towers (affectionately referred to as the BTI or Beady Eye).  If you head in the east entrance you'll want to head to the west end where there's a small lobby area next to the main doors.  Alternatively, you can walk down the sidewalk in front of the building and enter the building via the west entrance.  In the lobby you'll see this sign...(sorry for the reflection of the lights)

Now, hop into the elevator and head up to the 8th floor!  I just pulled some bread out of the oven, so we can have a slice of fresh bread and a cup of tea or coffee and chat!  Hope you enjoyed the tour of our little town's historic district!  I think it's pretty fascinating, but I might be biased...

Friday, September 12

Book Review--Dirty Faith

Dirty Faity
by David Z. Nowell

One of my favorite lines from this book caputres the essence of what Nowell has to say to us, "There are times in God's Word when we're demanded to call on a faith that pushes us to step beyond our level of comfort and encounter a world that is not always pretty, not always easy, not always nice."  This is not always an easy book to read.  Nowell challenges us to reconsider our "arm's length Christianity" by reminding us that "You cannot be intimate with God and distant from those he loves." Ouch.  Drawing on his personal experiences as president of Hope Unlimited, Nowell illustrates his point through poignant vignettes.

I honestly read this book with a tissue in one hand and a highlighter in the other! It was a book I enjoyed reading, but a book I had to read slowly because it gave me so much to think about and pray about.  I can see this being a book I revisit because this is a subject matter that is close to my heart.

Thank you to Bethany House 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.  

{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, September 10

Take Your Kids to Work!

Last weekend was the last weekend of the Anchorage Market and Festival where I work during the summer.  Some friends of ours run a business selling coffee, fudge, and ice cream and I work for them.  Last year we started the tradition that the girls could come with me on the last day.  This year was bright and sunny and they had a great time.  Stacy ran the cash register for a good four hours.  That girl loves math, so the register is right up her alley.  All three kids started a little sidwalk chalk business.  They did this art in the empty space next to our booth...

Then the folks next door to us asked them to some advertising art for them. They sell smoked fish.  I didn't get a picture of that art, though.  Next they went down to a booth farther down that sells pottery...

...and then on to the popcorn booth!

People at market are like a bit family, so it was so sweet to see other vendors be so kind to the kids.  They paid them for their work and bartered with them for their goods.  So fun to watch!

Monday, September 8

::right now::

sunrise this morning
 Outside my window...the  clouds are rolling in after a few days of lovely sunshine

I am thinking...about what to make for dinner.

In the kitchen...there are dishes to be done

I am creating...a list of stuff that I have purchased supplies to create but haven't created yet

I am going...nowhere and glad to be at home

I am wondering...when I will be able to sit down at my sewing machine

I am reading...just finished Orphan Train, now reading Kissies for Katie, Unbroken coming up next

I am hoping...that my honey will heal quickly and well from his shoulder repair surgery last week

I am take time to fill my own tank

A favorite quote for today..

One of my favorite things...watching my kiddos discover their own passions

 A peek into my day...braiding hair, running, cleaning, the usual mama stuff!