February 29, 2012

Abigail Visits the Three Bears

My mother lives in an area of Texas that is a community for older people.  All of the homes have standard layouts and thus they have model homes all decorated for perspective owners to look at.  The other day we decided to take Abigail to wander around the model homes.
While we walked from house to house it felt like we were Goldielocks visiting with the three bears.
 We tested out their bathrooms, but realized with the rain outside we didn't need a bath so we moved right along.
 Then we tested out all of the beds to find one that "felt just right".  This one was a winner since it had a wonderful ceiling fan on right over the bed.
And as we finished up in the last home Abigail and Grandma sat and discussed the pros and cons of all the models and just which one Miss Abigail would like to live in if she were to buy a home in 55 years.

February 28, 2012

A Little Water On A Hot Day

Since February in Texas is still spring the sunny, warm days during our visit were a little hit or miss.
But there were a few, mid-week, where it warm right up and it felt like summer was in the air.
So grandma pulled out the little pool and we filled it up first thing so that the sun could warm the water for an afternoon swim.  
video
The filling of the pool ended up being the best part of the day since the weather cooled off before we actually got to put our toes in the water but what a fun memory we have from the warm morning.

February 27, 2012

Failed Video

I have been trying to load a great video all day and it just hasn't worked.  I will keep at it and hopefully have up some more exciting news tomorrow.  Sorry about the delay in today's post.

February 24, 2012

What Do You Do?

A friend asked me yesterday, just what did you do on your vacation to Texas?  I laughed because really not much but at the same time we did so very much.
video
We spent time in the sun, in the grass, and on walks without snow.  We enjoyed learning new things, helping do projects, and exploring new toys.  There will be a lot of pictures in the next few days of all we "did" but I realized that this video illustrates a little of our simple backyard fun.  

February 23, 2012

A Celebration In Pink

One of the things that Abigail and I love about visiting our family in February is that we get to be with my niece for her birthday.
Since her birthday falls on Valentine's Day it is always a day celebrated with pink and hearts.
 After not seeing each other for a whole year it was fun for these cousins to reconnect.
 It is so fun that even as we celebrate a birthday we also get to celebrate being a family that is together once again.
 Regardless of being tired from our long flight south just the day before we had a wonderful afternoon and evening of high energy.  Turning 7 is a pretty big deal to us!
Uncles, Aunts, grandparents and cousins all make for a fun filled day.  We miss Josh back at home but are so thankful to be here, with family, for this time.

February 22, 2012

While Kathleen is gone I have been working long days in the workshop.  At this point the sanding and most of the routing is completed on the night stands.  All the pieces are oriented and labeled for assembly


The next step is to fill the open knot holes with epoxy and allow it to cure.  


 This process will take a few days, as some of the knot holes are fairly large and will need multiple layers of epoxy to completely fill the voids.


Once all the epoxy is cured I will be able to card scrape off any excess and begin the process of applying the finish. Then I can assemble all three and put them aside for working on the next project.


Epoxy is curing slower than I would like. At least the ice cream is in the upstairs freezer.


While I waited for the epoxy to cure, I prepared a few trim pieces to cover the visible edge of the plywood on the drawers.  I wanted them fairly thin so I used a scrap piece of MDF and used double sided carpet tape to attach the strips of wood to run them through the planer.  I had previously squared on face and edge on the jointer.


These are the resulting 1/4 inch thick strips that will be cut to 1/2 inch wide and glued onto the drawers.


Good Company on the Road

Even though I have been writing of Alaskan days for the past week Abigail and I have not been there.
Last week we packed our bags, filled the freezer with food for Josh and loaded up on a plane headed south.  Can't wait to share all our adventures with you soon.  Hope you are staying warm in your corner of the world today.



February 21, 2012

What the Sun Can Do

Recently we have enjoyed some of the warmer days of winter.  You know the type of winter most of the world enjoys.  Above zero, days to ski, play in the snow and on the "warm" afternoons, watch icicles grow.
After such a cold January it is fun to finally have Abigail out of the house.  We walk each day.  We are teaching her what it is like to touch snow, ice and what it is like to walk on a snowy path.  These are the winter days to remember, the days where a fire in the wood stove can take the chill out of the air and where the outside is a winter wonderland to enjoy.


February 20, 2012

A warm winter day.

The other day it was about 20 degrees outside and the sky was clear.  The sun had not yet risen but horizon was getting brighter.  I, Josh, decided a nice long snow-machine ride would be a good idea.  I gathered a few things i would need and filled the fuel tank. By 9:15  I was on the trail headed north.  


I had no destination;  just the next hill top.  I went nearly 16 miles north from my house along the pipeline before I stopped to take these pictures. As you can see from the shadows and the elevation of the sun it was  still early. The trail out was fun and pleasantly absent of other snow-machines.  



Is February Too Early for Summer?

Yes, it is only mid-February, the snow is on the ground, and I should be only thinking about skiing, skating and snowmachining but that just isn't the case these days.
As the director for this year's VBS program we are busy thinking about summer and decorating for a trip to a tropical island for a few days in May.  Because even with the snowy days that we have now summer will be here before we know it.

February 17, 2012

The Ups and Downs In Life

We all go through ups and downs in life.  Downs like being sick for a few days, sorry for a lack of blog posts, and ups like finding the best toy of the day is the blender box.  Our little lady is so active, fun and excited about life.  Hope this little video makes you smile and gives you the urge to go do some step aerobics.
video

February 14, 2012

A Little Love From Me To You

On this Valentine's Day I would like to take a moment to wish my family, my two side-kicks and my life a little love.
If you follow my blog at all you know I love these two people, that they are my world and on this Valentine's Day I say to them, I love you.  In our family we aren't big into extravagance or huge romance.  We instead try to be consistent with our day-to-day expressions of love.  I do enjoy that I feel the love yesterday, today and tomorrow around these parts.  Hope you are all feeling especially adored today.

February 13, 2012

Family Day

The other day we had a need to break out of our winter doldrums so we headed out on a new little family adventure.



We went to our local visitor’s center here in Fairbanks.  It is a beautiful new building that Josh hadn’t had the chance to go to yet and it is full of fun things to see.  Abigail loved the stuffed animals in the museum, the wide open space to wander in and we loved the great displays as Abigail wandered.



Abigail wasn’t too sure about checking out the hunter’s wall tent but keeping in the Davis tradition I placed her there for a quick picture.  Maybe she has too much Klynstra in her to be such a rebel, I will have to work with her on that one.




One fun discovery was to see Abigail walk for the first time on an inclined surface.  As an adult I don’t give a slight ramp much thought at all but it was sure fun to see Abigail struggle with balance, gravity and a floor that inclines and declines frequently.  What a fun and unexpected lesson.



Yes we live in Fairbanks, we know about our “culture”, our activities, our wildlife and our seasons but it was so fun to go for a few hours and just be a “tourist” in our own town.  Just what was needed to beat those cabin-fever blues that can come in the winter.



February 10, 2012

Random Klynstra Events

The following are some small, random, thoughts and events going on around our home.



Abigail is big into imitation these days.  Not so much with words yet but noises and expressions for sure.  We sneeze, she sneezes.  We blow our nose, she will find a small piece of something and blow her nose.  She loves to walk around the house with her fake phone tucked on her chin talking to someone (who did she learn that from?).   



This last week Abigail has figured out the kiss.  Up until this point when you asked for a kiss she would just press her face to yours.  Now she likes to smack her lips, so funny.  The other day I was holding her as I kissed Josh good-bye in the morning and when I looked at her she gave me a big kiss too.  It is fun to be greeted with a kiss when we go get her from her crib instead of just yelling, she is such a sweet girl.



The other day I canned some kidney beans.  Are you sick of me talking about my canning yet?  I love doing it.  What primal need in me does this fill I wonder?  I am thankful to my mother-in-law who taught me the super affordable way of canning my own dry beans for easy access in future meals.  And the funny thing about it is that night my house smelled like my grandma Davis’ house from when I was a child.  I don’t know if it was the bean, the canning process, what I had made for dinner but it did make me miss my grandma very much.  She loved to can as well I do remember.



Abigail loves to snack.  She eats all of her meals in her highchair but in-between meals she needs to snack very frequently.  Our new system is that when Abigail isn’t in her highchair there are snacks and her sippy cup of water on the footstool portion of her highchair for her to reach.  She loves this bit of independence that allows here to come here and there to get a bite to eat as she plays and I love my happy and content little girl.


February 9, 2012

The Need To Finish

Have you ever been in the middle of a project that is going well?  



I was there the other day.   The machine was working great, the fabric was fun and handling well, I was energized and focused.  Yes, it was the perfect day for this project!  (sorry the picture of the fabric isn’t more clear but it is for a few gifts and what was being made just can’t be shared just yet)



For the most part Miss Abigail was being great at letting me sew that day.  I have certain toys I keep set aside until times like these so she has “new” things to play with.  That and I sew right outside of her room so there are books, toys and such to play with.  But just as I was about 85% done my little girl reached an ending point in her patience, she needed her mama and I have to admit, this mama really needed to finish the project.  So with that, Abigail found the accessory drawer in my sewing desk.



And as I stitched my last stitch, cleaned the machine and put away my thread this is what my little girl and my accessory drawer’s contents looked like.  But as I laughed and took a picture I found that this was just ok because you see, the project was finished and with it such a good sense of accomplishment.  Plus, this meant I got to sort, organize and clean up my accessory drawer of ribbons, rick rack, lace, elastic and such as I put it all back.  Thanks for being such a great side-kick my dear, you knew that drawer just needed a little TLC didn’t you.  


February 8, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner

So far this year sticking to my food calendar has been great.  Ok, so we are only on our second month of the year, but it has worked well so far.  And one new addition I am finding myself making more and more is slipping in a short-order meal into each week, a little breakfast to bring in some variety at night. 


You see we are pretty much a straight oatmeal family for breakfast.  Boring as it might be we have oatmeal each and every morning since it is filling, fast, one pot on the stove feeds us all and it is warm.  This pretty bland pattern of oatmeal doesn’t mean we don’t love the good “CafĂ©” style breakfast options.  So as I write out the month’s meals on the calendar I find myself slipping in nights of omelets, waffles, pancakes, French toast, potato pancakes and home fries all of which can be made dairy and gluten free to fit into this family’s needs.  So, what are you having for dinner?  


February 7, 2012

You and Me Makes Three

Something Josh and I have learned in the past 14 months is that our lives are no longer our own to spontaneously do with as we wish any more. Since we are now very aware of our role as parents and our budget we have learned that date nights must take on a different kind of look from our no children days.



I will be honest to say that for the past 14 month date nights have not really existed but that has been changing.  We are making an intent to set aside time to reconnect, have fun, do something different and we are learning that all of this doesn’t necessarily have to be done out of the house.  Abigail goes to bed and date night can begin without the commute.



These pictures were taken from the other day when we decided to have a Sushi Date Night.  When dating we used to like to buy a small pack of sushi/California rolls and go off on a picnic or hike as a date.  The other day we decided for a good “in-house” date we would learn to make sushi ourselves.



And what fun we had.  No, it wasn’t a show, movie, big dinner with a waiter and extensive menu but it was special, new, and time to reconnect with each other.  Yes Miss Abigail is a very active part of each day but connecting with my partner is part of that day too.


February 6, 2012

Yukon Quest 2012

We have been very lucky this past week that the cold, bitter cold, of January has finally started to break.  Last Thursday we saw temperatures above zero in the first time in over 5 weeks.  And with the warmer weather came the start of the Yukon Quest on Saturday.



So we planned out all of the winter gear needed, bundled up and headed out even though Saturday saw the temperatures drop back down to -20 degrees on the river.



Regardless of the temperature there was a need to be there.  Feel the excitement, watch the dogs, cheer the mushers and imagine the next week or so that these teams will be out on the trail.



Dog mushing is such a fun part of Fairbanks and the Yukon Quest is such a great event to attend on cold winter days.  The race starts in Fairbanks and ends in Whitehorse, Canada every other year as the race is reversed on opposite years.



So even though we didn’t stay too long, we shared the joy of watching the dogs with Abigail and told her how we can’t see this again until she is three years old.  With that thought these days and events are all the more special.  Time just goes too fast.


February 2, 2012

A new tool for a new project

I don't really remember which came first, the project or the tool.  I have been wanting a pocket hole jig system from Kreg tools for several years.  Kathleen has also been asking for night stands for our bedroom for several years; the driftwood stands I made eight or so years ago are not very big and don't have a drawer for all those things you need at night like glasses and tissues and cold medicine.  Well, I now have the pocket hole jig and the project is in the works.  


I started preparing the wood, from the air dried lumber I milled years ago, in December.  Since this is a new project and I really don't draw up very specific plans, I decided to make three.  That way when I make an obvious mistake on a crucial step of the project I may end up with a pair that look close to the same and don't have any glaring flaws.  Aside from the normal ones.  
I am currently in the process of  drilling all the pocket holes.  There are many.  Probably too many but I like a new, and easy, joinery system.  Besides screws add heft to a project and heavy things are more valuable, I hope.  Anyway, the only other new thing on this project are the biscuit joints that are holding the tops and shelves together.


And I'm rambling...  So. Another improvement to my small skill-set, I will be trying to produce a better finish on this project.  I typically have two finishes: either I wipe on Tung Oil with a rag or I brush on water based Polyurethane.  Both are relatively easy, but neither produce a high quality finish when applied by me.  Thus the need to re-develop my finishing techniques.  As the photo below shows, I have purchased lacquer thinner and sander sealer.  My hope is to produce a smoother and cleaner looking finish that does not have my customary brush marks and blotchy spots.  


SO.
Here is what they will look like, minus the drawer and the top.  I guess they will look a bit different than this but I don't have a picture of the completed project yet.  


And moving on.  This leaf outline is another new step in my attempts at woodworking diversity.  For Christmas this year I received an addition to my router, a bushing set.  This leaf outline was a fun process to go through.  First I needed a template for the bushing guide. That meant I was able to purchase a new router bit to fit inside my 3/8 inch bushing.  I needed that size because the strait bit I have is 1/2 inch which is the size of the OD of the 3/8 bushing.  YEAH, more tools.  This is becoming a great project, just a few more like this and I'll have a full shop.


Well, that's all I have for now.  When there is more to show, I'll steal another post from Kathleen.

February 1, 2012

One More Not Needed From The Store

Josh loves to eat a yogurt with his lunch each day.  Each week as I purchase the multiple little cups I think I really need to figure out how to make this at home.



So the other day I faced my fears of something new, bought a gallon of milk and went at trying my hand in making homemade yogurt.



And I have to say; the entire process was a huge success.  After the heating, the cooling, the mixing and the long time heating I stored the jars in the fridge and waited.  I needed to see if when the yogurt cooled if it set up or if I would end up with a runny mess.  



But set up they did!  All of the jars and then I just had to wait for Josh to come home for the real taste test.  Overall verdict…texture is great, sweetness is great, flavor is slightly bland.  Humm, I added the two tablespoons of vanilla as the recipe said but it didn’t do a lot to make the yogurt vanilla favored.  Maybe it is because it is imitation vanilla, any suggestions?  For this batch we decided Josh will just mix in some blueberry syrup for flavor but I would like to have another plan for flavor before I mix up my next batch.  I have to say, we could very well never buy store bought yogurt again.