Wednesday, January 25

Christmas Part One: Alaska

Christmas is such a special time of year!  We have spent Christmas in Whittier for the past several years.  We wanted to build holiday traditions here in our home with our little family all together.  They have been great holidays, but this year we decided to do it a little differently.  Scott stayed here in Whittier and the girls and I headed south to spend time with family.  Before we flew out, we celebrated here in Alaska.

We decorated our tree...

We made the traditional Korbe Christmas arrangements...

We baked for our community with our church family.  We delivered handmade lotion bars to friends around town and the four of us exchanged gifts.

Stacy made Kelsey this quilled paper cross...

It was a great gift for Kelsey and it was fun to watch the years of gift-making stretch this year.  Stacy knew what she wanted to make for Kelsey and she knew who to ask to help her.  It was fun to watch her take such joy and pride in her gift to her sister.

Kelsey chose something she knew would be a hit with Stacy.  It was a bit beyond her skill level so I ended up doing much of the sewing for her, but the thought she put into what Stacy would like was so sweet.  She was right--Stacy loves this shirt that we added lace insets to!

Scott and I got the girls helmets for snow machine and quad rides.  We gave them sort of gift certificates for the helmets, then we picked them out the day we landed back in Anchorage.  We need to take a good picture of them--they're bright colors, that's for sure!

I'll be back soon (or later!😊) to tell you about Christmas Part Two: Washougal!

Thursday, January 5

Thanksgiving Weekend at Amber Lake

smiley face the kids found in the lake ice 😊
We spent the long Thanksgiving weekend with our friends up at Amber Lake.  It was the best weekend we had had in a long time.  What's not to love about a four day weekend?

The weather was great--cold and clear but not too cold and not too snowy.  There wasn't enough snow to snow machine, but the ice was perfect for skating.  We spent lots of time down on the lake skating.

One night we set up some lights, made a thermos of cocoa, lit a bonfire and skated after dinner.  Bonfires make everything seem more special!

Scott even "skated"...

It has become our Thanksgiving tradition to make Gingerbread houses with our friends.  The girls always have fun and it is neat to see how they progress from year to year, adding more careful details each year.

The best part about the cabin is always the pace and the people.  The views aren't bad either, but it is so nice to slow down a bit and visit with people you care about.  That's the good stuff in life!

Tuesday, January 3

Light Show

Wow!  The lights (aurora) were bright in October!  I went out one night and got some good pictures and then took the girls out a few mornings later and taught them to take pictures in the dark.  They had so much fun and the lights were extremely active that morning.  It is rare in Whittier to have aurora all over the sky, they generally just present over in the eastern sky, but for these few days they were much more active and all over the place!

Here are my pictures...

And here are the ones the girls took...

Looks like we missed some good lights New Year's's hoping they're out again soon!

Anchorage Museum

We have been to the Anchorage Museum several times before--we always enjoy it!  I am sure I have written about it before, so I won't spend lots of time telling you all about it.  The museum is undergoing renovations right now, so a large portion of it is closed.  That didn't slow us down, though!

learning about how they are preserving and restoring artifacts that have been on display
We went on the first Saturday in October, Bank of America day.  On Bank of America day, cardholders get one free admission to the museum.  Almost every Alaskan has an Alaska Airlines credit card issued guessed it!  Bank of America!  Off we went with some friends of ours to check out the new additions to the kids space, known as the Imaginarium.  The Spark!Lab is a new space open to kids and it alone was worth the price of admission for my kids!  There were all sorts of open-ended activities there and several museum employees to facilitate the creativity.  It was fun for the kids and I had fun exploring as well!

Stacy loved this musical marble maze
I spent a long time here
Who doesn't love touching a snake?? :-)
There was a space with tools aimed at younger kids, an outdoor gardening space, and Magformers station, a felt board story writing station, a snap circuits station, and a PVC engineering station in addition to the areas pictured above.  Of course, the perennial hit is the bubble lab.  Kids and bubbles...guaranteed success!

Field Trip--Alaska Railroad

One of the many things I love about our school district is the way they support learning in a variety of locations.  We all know that learning doesn't happen only in school, and that understanding is key to our school district's philosophy.  Recently we partnered with the Alaska Railroad to enjoy a bit of our backyard that is accessed only by train via the Glacier Discovery Train.  The girls and I took this trip back in 2012.  Sheesh...they were lots smaller back then!

Anyway, the trip has changed a bit.  It was quite new in 2012 and construction on the Spencer Whistlestop had not been completed.  A few folks got off on that trip, but the kids and I rode to the end. The weather was dampish that day and I wasn't too keen on being in the wilderness with two tired preschoolers.

Fast forward to 2016 and the Whistlestop has been completed.  The train ride appears to have found an audience, and the day we went was the perfect day to explore outside with a group of kids.  On board the train the kids were given goodie bags filled with bookmarks, pencils, erasers and such.  The railroad also provided lunch for everyone in our group that day.  They were so generous to us, it was so kind of them!  They even raffled off some prizes at he the very end of the trip.  I took lots of pictures that day, but I can't share many of them here since they include other students.  Here are a few you can enjoy, though....

Thank you AKRR for your generosity and support of our school!