Monday, June 21, 2010

Afternoon at the Ocean

We don't have nice sandy beaches here but they are great for throwing rocks in. One day I'll have to show them how to skip rocks across the water. They are content now just to throw them in. Watch as Daniel winds up for the pitch. I had to laugh.
video
Right above here the planes are taking off over our heads. Very noisy but it adds to the fun of the experience. Daniel did a great job balancing on the log.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being on the West coast again. The waves barely break the surface up here as we are so far inland, but it just makes me happy to be next to the Pacific ocean again. One day I'll have to take them down to California to visit all my extended family there and show them what real waves are.


Garden #2

The Garden spot that we rented is doing well. I just picked about 10 radishes the other day. There are peas, onions, lettuce, pumpkin, crookneck squash, lettuce, strawberries, chives, carrots and a few other things. Still need to put up a fence to keep the moose out. One of these days when I have time...


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Passions

I don't post a lot about books I read but those who know me well know that I LOVE to read. Give me a good book over the t.v. anytime. It's been a way for me to travel the world and through different periods of history, alternate realities, learn about people and different ideas and ways of thinking. Reading was something that was encouraged by my parents and my Grandma Jefts fueled the fire early on by bringing me bags and boxes of books when she would come to visit. I learned to love the smell of books.
Another passion that I have that developed much later in life is politics. I guess it was all those years living just outside of D.C. How do you not get the politics bug in your blood? I love the exchange of thoughts and ideas, the fight for what you believe in and having political conversations with those on either side of the fence as long as we can deal in facts.
So combining these two things recently I just finished reading Sarah Palin's book, "Going Rouge". Let me preface my comments by saying that when all the hoopla started about Obama maybe running for president I read his first book too. I have defended him on stories that the media got wrong about him. Back to Palin- I LOVED Palin's book.
First off having moved to Alaska in the past year it gave me insight into what has been going on here in Alaska for years and the people. Alaska is a very different state and a very different place. But exactly what she describes is exactly what I have experienced here. Hard working, very helpful, independent and wonderful people. (As a matter of fact I think the only people we have had any type of problem with here have been people who aren't from Alaska and really don't want to be here.) So it was fun to read that the things we have experienced here are normal everyday things.
Second, after the campaign and after she left office I was left with a lot of questions from news stories that had been aired and things that I hadn't completely understood. She answered every one of those questions in her book. She was real, down to earth and tries to explain what was going on. From the first I admired her standing up for her values, beliefs and for the greatness of our country and all that it stands for and doing so apologetically. If I ever get to meet her that is exactly what I would say to her. I laughed frequently through the book (okay if you're vegetarian you won't find it funny when she says that "there is room for all of God's creature's right next to the mashed potatoes." but I sure did!) and nearly cried as well many times. (How could you not when a mother talks about sending her son off to war or dealing with the news that your son will be born with down syndrome.)
Whether you like Palin or not, it's still a good read and it explains a lot. So go find it at your local library!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Conversation

Reagan and Daniel were cuddling with me this morning and Reagan said "I have pretty eyes."
"Who told you you have pretty eyes I asked?" (She does but I was wondering how she figured that one out.)
"Daniel told me that I have pretty eyes."
Daniel quickly cut in laughingly, "I didn't tell her she had pretty eyes. Do I have pretty eyes?"
Reagan replied to much surprise and laughter, " You have monster eyes!"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Birthday Trip to the Fire Station














So for some reason these pictures will not go in any semblance of order so you get them as is. For Daniel's 4th birthday we went to the fire station as everything right now is about firemen and firetrucks with him. Brilliant move for Mom. No clean up from a party and EVERYONE wanted to come. We brought cupcakes for the cake and Mom had to make two kinds as she really doesn't like chocolate and Daniel does. (Though apparently not chocolate cake. Score 1 for Mom.) The chocolate cupcakes had mint frosting as Daniel LOVES mint and the others were strawberry with cream cheese frosting. The kids had a great time and I must say compared to the last time we went to a fire station the guys at Station 3 were really great with them. One of the firemen got dressed up in his uniform and got down on the ground with the kids and the kids would have to call out to him and say I'm over here, and then run up and touch him. This was designed to show them that they are just people and not to be scared. The kids loved it. They showed us where they lived. Daniel loved the rows of about 10 recliners that sat in front of the big screen t.v. He plopped right down and made himself at home. He was fascinated by all of their equipment. We had to ask-"Do you have a fire pole?" They didn't but apparently station #1 does. I think a trip to station 1 will be in our future. We shared the last of the cupcakes with the firemen and said goodbye. It was a really great time. Happy 4th Birthday Daniel!

Kid Photographers












I need to get the kids their own camera. The shutters no longer closes on mine as they are frequently grabbing it and taking pictures when I'm not looking. Here are some of the best they have taken. Pretty good for a self portrait Reagan. Daniel took the one of Reagan and I together. I'd been out in the sun all day so I don't look the greatest. I guess they are following in Aunt Eliza's footsteps.

I looked out the window and what did I see?



I looked out the window and what did I see? Two little moose nibbling on a tree.
Paul called the other morning to say that there were two young moose outside our building and he thought we could see them from the balcony. Sure enough there they were. The kids were really excited and of course noisy, so they didn't stay long, but we love seeing the moose.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What to do with large quanities of Rhubarb


I had mentioned to a friend that I liked Rhubarb and would like to find some as it is rhubarb season. (I hope to plant some next year.) She in turned mentioned it to a friend who mentioned it to a friend... So one day last week I got a call from my Bishop's wife that she had rhubarb for me. I was on my was on my way to the dentist so she dropped it off. It was a TON of Rhubarb. And I'm not complaining, as a matter of fact I shamelessly asked for and got more. But what to do with all that Rhubarb? It was way to much for pies. So here is what we have done with it so far-
1-Fresh- Daniel has decided that he likes it and just breaks some off and starts eating it. It's a bit much for me fresh.
2-Frozen- I chopped it up for pies and plopped it in the freezer. Fast and easy.
3-Dried- I found this suggestion on the internet, they suggested putting it in scones or granola. I wondered if it would be sweet as happens with a lot of things that are dried. But nope it's still pucker worthy.
4-Jam-I made 4 batches of jam. 1 freezer and the rest were in the jars you see. The ones on the right are Rhubarb only. It's cooked down and straight tart goodness. It was a bit much for Paul but I think the kids and I will thoroughly enjoy it. The ones on the left are strawberry rhubarb made with strawberry jello. This particular recipe had a ton of sugar. The next batch I make won't have near that amount of sugar but Paul will definitely eat this and I'm sure my children won't complain.
I didn't get any pies made as I just had so much rhubarb I just thought I'd make them later but I can't wait for that luscious rhubarb pie. (Yes Roland, if you bring Genvieve to visit I will share and make you a pie.) I picked up more to do up today and am hoping for some more jam and am thinking I will try bottling it for pies as well- Just in case the power or my freezer goes out one day.

Easter Dress


This is a bit late. Okay a lot late, but here is a picture of Reagan's Easter dress that I finally took last week. (She let me curl her hair for the first time!) She loves this dress and I have to keep it put up or I will go in her room and find her constantly attired in it. As it is we put her to bed each night and never know what we will find her in in the morning. Last week a couple mornings it was her bathing suit. Her drawers and closet are usually destroyed each night as she figures out what she wants to wear after we have put her to bed.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Garden # 1


I have 3 gardens- 1 on my balcony, 1 at the community gardens, and 1 at a friends house. Here is garden #1 on my balcony. It's my tomato garden. I have 8 of my tomato plants out there in Walls O Water. (I do have 4 more planted in the ground with Walls O Water- We'll see how they each do.) I was so excited to see my first blossom last night on one of the plants and it has about 20 more getting ready to pop open. Growing tomatoes here is problematic- Short growing season and not enough heat. My mother in law (Lois) uses Walls O water for her tomatoes in UT. (She can plant a week or 2 before us but has the same problem with late frosts.) So I started reading up on the Walls o Water and read that in places like Montana they just leave them on all summer due to it not getting really warm. It's like having their own personal greenhouse. So far it seems to be working. I've had the plants since the middle of April- I bought them early as they are cheaper then and probably by the first of May had them outside in the walls of water. I'm told that they grow best in a greenhouse here and everyone really discouraged trying it without one. But potted tomatoes were also supposed to do well and I want taco sauce, salsa, V-8 and several more things if I can figure out how to grow enough tomatoes so- Garden #1 was born.

Homemade Yogurt



I have been wanting to make yogurt for a while as we love smoothies and it's a bit expensive to buy when you are buying large quantities. Mom makes it all the time at home and I have made it there but was little nervous not having a gas stove which keeps it nice and warm. The first batch didn't turn out right but the second one- Perfection! Here's Daniel and Reagan anxiously waiting for their smoothie.

1st Hike of the year

The kids and I went with friends on our first hike of the year yesterday. For Reagan it was her first. We went and hiked Potter's Creek Trailhead and while we didn't go the whole 3.3 miles I think we probably went halfway so with coming back we got in the 3.3 miles anyway. My friend Amy had asked us to go with her and her kids and nieces what she neglected to say is that for the first 1/2 mile the trail goes straight up! Reagan and I brought up the tail end of the hikers for that portion. I wish I had gotten a picture to show you how steep it was, but I was too busy trying to keep up... Daniel however literally ran up the trail. Where oh where does he get that energy? I've got to figure out a way to siphon some of that off and maybe inject myself with it.
Hiking in Alaska is a bit interesting as you run the risk of running into
bears and moose. While the danger from a bear would seem immediately apparent a moose might not. But I am told that the moose are very likely to charge you and I've heard that a crash with a moose and a semi- the semi often looses. So I'm not particularly anxious to tangle with one. We didn't see any wildlife until we were safely in the car and driving back towards the marsh where there was a moose out feeding.
This is Daniel's "fishing" stick. It has some bark hanging off the end of it and he would use it to fish in the streams that we crossed. I loved the way he carried it and I just had to take a picture- stuck in the back of his coat in his hood. He carried the stick for a lot of the hike.
I wish I had pictures of the view which was incredible over Turnagain

Arm out over the mud flats, the ocean and over to the other side. I am reminded how grateful I am to be here in Alaska. We have the mountains, the ocean, the wildlife. It is SO gorgeous here. If it wasn't so cold (55 degrees yesterday) I would have thought I was some place tropical. It was so lush and green. Alaska isn't able to grow a lot of fruits as it isn't warm enough but they can grow berries. So I can't wait for a month or so until I can go hike and eat all the wild raspberries, blueberries and etc. I could see them growing a long the trail and my mouth was watering just thinking about them. I also found out on our hike yesterday that Alaska can grow all 3 kinds of cranberries and they grow wild. A helpful sign pointed them out and suggested for the "high" cranberries that were

growing there, that they be picked slightly before fully ripe and crushed with a mixture of rosehips for jelly. I am not a fan of cranberry jelly out of a can at Thanksgiving but I think I might have to try making some cranberry jelly this year just because I can!
I have to laugh at this picture of Reagan. She is throwing away a leaf. I am realizing that she is a lot like me in that she likes the outdoors, but hey the house is better unless it's a park. She also gets cold really easily, so all winter we would be out for 5 minutes and then have to come in as she was too cold. Daniel on the other hand would stay outdoors and NEVER come in given the opportunity. (We have to get into a house with a yard soon!)

Okay this is the stream that we stayed the longest and Daniel has a great
love of water. So it was no surprise that he fell in. You can see him going down. Amy was worried we should turn around but Daniel had no problem forging ahead. What's a little water. It was 55 degrees! :-)
Alaska is determined to take me- the consumate indoor person and make me into an outdoor person. I have always rather been indoors with a book or cooking but it is so gorgeous here and you feel so alive I just can't say no.