Saturday, July 31, 2010

Water vs Soda

I have a lot more posts that I will try to get to later today, but I just had to post about something that struck me really odd today.
In the 1980's fortunes were made getting people to buy things that had been previously- free. One HUGE example of this is water. Water used to be free you could get it from anywhere and no one would think about charging you for it, then we went to special "bottled water" which truth be told most of them aren't any different from what you get out of the tap.
Growing up soda was a real treat, or something extra. I grew up in a large family with a mother who tried to make sure we ate relatively healthy. When we went to a restaurant, you always ordered water instead of soda as it costs less and it is better for you.
Well today I took my kids to the air show on base. (More about that later.) While there we got some lunch (it had taken an hour just to get on base and who knew how long we would be). While looking at my choices of what to eat I knew that we are going to need a drink (amazingly the sun came out today and it was getting warm). So I look at what's being offered. Soda-$1.00. Water-$2.00. I sat there in my mind saying, "Healthy or cheap, healthy or cheap?" Since when did soda become cheaper than good old fashioned water? This is insane. Soda won out as I was short on cash and didn't know if I would need more later, but no wonder we have an obesity epidemic. It costs too much to be healthy!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Crazy and Fun Day

I had no idea that yesterday would be such a crazy busy day when it started. To start the day there was a run to the store as we were out of milk which with our kids is a minor catastrophe. (How Paul and I ended up with kids that love milk when neither of us drink it is beyond me.)

Next we stopped at several garage sales (which were a bust) along the way and the farmers market. Looking at the time I realized that I needed to race home so that I could make sugar cookies for the Stake Pioneer Day picnic. Daniel had been asking for sugar cookies for about a week and we had just never gotten around to making them so I promised we would make them for the picnic. I had just enough time to get them made and frosted without being there too late. In our church on July 24th every year we celebrate our pioneer ancestors. If you live in UT the celebration is huge. Here in Alaska- Well there was a picnic. I guess after being in UT last year and reliving my childhood memories of the day it was a little bit of a let down. It didn't help that it looked like it was going to rain any minute and it was only about 55 degrees. We have had a horribly rainy summer. The kids had a great time though and that was what was really important.

We had an hour between our next stop and so we ran a few errands and called and talked to Grandma Lyman. As soon as we got in the car Reagan was sound asleep. Ah... to be a child again.

The kids final stop for the day was at a Japanese Summer Festival. Reagan's Nursery leaders at church until last week have both been Japanese and 1 of her leaders was heavily involved in the festival so I thought it would be fun. Here they got to try on traditional Japanese kimonos. They offered to put one on me too, but I figured the minute I was busy they would run. Besides I've worn them several times before (as a child any time they wanted someone to be Japanese for a school or church play they would dress me up). Reagan really wanted this particular sash on hers. The picture doesn't do it justice as it is all bunched up, but it was a beautiful scarf.

Daniel really liked the Japanese lanterns that were everywhere.

This was something fun as well. They are water Yo-yos. They are made with balloon type material but it was a bit thicker. They have a little bit of water in them and they had elastic strings attached. They were really cool and the kids really enjoyed them.

I wish the kids hadn't been so tired and we could have stayed for all the performances, but we did get to see the drumming and so you get to too. It was fascinating! Watching them all move in unison.

The day ended with Mom getting to spend some time with friends eating Chinese food and playing games. Great end to a great (but exhausting!) day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Canning Salmon for the First Time

A friend gave us some Salmon today. We don't have a ton of freezer room right now as our freezer just quit- So I got to spend the day bottling Salmon. It ends up being just the same as tuna out of a can and you can use it for the same things. I got 21 pints and saved the fillet in the picture for dinner. I was excited to use my new pressure cooker for the first time. I ended up paying all of $20 for it as I was able to use my Amazon gift cards that I earned from Swag Bucks. It was very nerve racking using a new ccooker that I wasn't used to and not have someone else there who knew what they were doing. Pressure cookers make me nervous anyway. I made the kids stay out of the kitchen as I was unsure of a new canner. They were happy to oblige with Little Einsteins and other show. But I pulled it off and I thought that that deserved a post by itself.
It was really easy. You just cut up the salmon into pieces that fit in the jar. Pour salt in screw on the lids and pressure- for an hour and a half. I must say the smell though when I opened the canner- Whew!!! Not sure that's a smell I ever want to get used to.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Alaska Native Heritage Center

Yesterday it was free admission to the Alaska Native Heritage Center so we took advantage of that. The kids got to make beaded necklaces with the tooth of an animal, make animal masks, and color among other things. We spent a lot of time walking around outside where they have a village set up to represent the various tribes in Alaska.
One of the things that was really interesting was the small doorways everywhere. They would also have tunnels for doorways which was interesting. The reason for both of these is hello- It's Alaska it's freezing cold in some places. One tribe lived in a place that it would get 120 below. The tunnels and small doorways make sense so that they aren't letting in a lot of cold air or loosing a lot of heat.
One of the other things I was really impressed with was how much they just used what they had. And really they had to as they didn't have access to the outside world much until recent years. But to be able to survive in these type of conditions with just you are able to make from the environment is pretty cool.
Paul loved the log cabins and the "village" was gorgeously situated. As you can see in the the pictures.
Target was hosting the event and paid for the native dancers to come and dance. One of the dances was with a fish and that was Daniel's favorite. It was about their heritage of catching the salmon. He kept asking during the other dances where the fish was.
Interestingly the dances also included the Tau Dance Theater from Hawaii. How exactly they fit into the Alaska Native Heritage I am unsure, but I am so glad they came. We were there for only one of their dances but it was so good. I wish that the video we took accurately represented what we saw in person, because it was breath taking. The dances kept the kids sitting completely still and in awe. Which if you know my kids is quite an accomplishment. Reagan in particular was mesmerized. Somehow I think that there will be dance classes in her future.

Our 4th of July

We had a very quiet 4th of July this year as it was on Sunday. But Paul had Monday off and we decided to go hiking with the kids up at Eklutna Lake. This is an area Paul is considering going hunting in later this year. It was a beautiful day, but the wind was blowing like crazy. Everybody had to have their walking sticks and I'll have to take a picture of Daniel with his as he found one that looks like Grandpa Lyman's cane and he is VERY protective of it. As a matter of fact the next week he took it with him as we "hiked" to the park and another boy about 10 tried to take it from him but Daniel used it to hit him you know where and retained his "cane". We hiked about 1 1/2 miles around the lake. It was an easy hike as it was level walking and the trail was wide enough for 2- 4 wheelers to pass each other as they frequently did. It was so beautiful. I just love getting out in the mountains and enjoying the views around here. It is just stunning.

Friday, July 16, 2010

First time Ice Skating

A month or two ago I was able to pick up ice skates for the kids at a garage sale. The kids have really been into hockey so they were very anxious to use them. Every school up here has an outdoor rink so this winter they could get lots of practice but we couldn't wait that long! The local summer library reading program provided us with coupons for them to go skating for free and we get a military discount so the whole adventure cost us a whopping $3.50. (Have I mentioned that I love coupons?)

Paul took each of them on the ice with him. (Mom does not skate, after trying it for the first time in 2000, and breaking my leg which led to being in a cast or a brace for 5 months... Well I just can't afford for that to happen again.) Daniel had no fear and thought it was awesome! He couldn't stop smiling, nor could he stay on his feet at all. But I was proud of him because that didn't stop him from trying. He was also really good at walking on his skates off the ice. For someone who is not very coordinated I was really proud of his ability to do that. Reagan got scared when she heard the noise that Paul made as his skates slid in on the ice and was very hesitant. The second time she went out she was a little better.
We didn't stay very long but we had a lot of fun. I asked Reagan if she had fun as we left. She replied, "No, Daddy do, Daniel do." Later she did admit that it was fun and we look forward to going again soon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Loaded for Bear

He's got both pistols at his side and his bow ready to shoot. He is getting wickedly accurate with his bow. Notice the sunglasses (has to be like Dad) but they are under his regular glasses.

The Princess

Upset because she hasn't gotten her way, in her 3rd or 4th outfit of the day (and it's only 10a.m.), and decked out in all her jewelry and finery. This is Princess Reagan. I think we named her right. Reagan means "little ruler".