October 31, 2013

Carrots and Cars

We have been enjoying our fresh garden carrots for over a month now.  
 But as I went to grab a few the other day for dinner I realized that the cool, moist, environment we were storing them in was perfect, perfect for them to try and grow new carrots.  
So with that we set to work on the process I had been putting off for three of the past four weeks, processing the carrots.  But at the end of the day we had clean and sectioned carrots in the fridge to enjoy and chopped and blanched carrots in the freezer.  Little bits of orange sweetness.
But in-between all of that cleaning, scrubbing, chopping and blanching there is always bits of random fun.  Love this picture of Josh showing Ethan that two chairs and a tupperware lid can make the perfect road trip.  You just never know what fun can come of a day ahead.

October 30, 2013

Busy Days of Catch Up

How is it that as the days get shorter and shorter life hasn't slowed down yet?  Each morning we turn on the smile light, as Abigail likes to call it, to help us get through until the sun shows up around 9:30.  When we are all up and going at 5:30 those four hours seem to take forever.  But even as the longer nights, the cooler days, the snowy walk ways and the constant fires remind us that winter is upon us we keep going strong.  There are house projects, kids activities, friends to visit, and life to maintain.  All good things and maybe it is the lack of sunlight that makes the day to day life more tiring than the summer months, I am not sure.  
So today the kids and I are going to play catch up.  There is stuff to do, a to do list to accomplish but also fun that this mama wants to enjoy with the kids.  Tomorrow will be another busy day but may we get through today and feel more refreshed than tired.  Not sure if that is possibly but it is worth a try.

October 29, 2013

Something New

In the world of Arts and Cracks, coming up with ideas is the hardest part of it all.  Well, that and figuring out how to create with Abigail while preventing Ethan from destroying it all at the same time.
 Awhile back the idea of colored pasta came to mind.  Something to create with that was different and fun but cost effective.
 So, thanks to google Abigail and I got to have a day of arts and cracks that involved dying pasta together.  The pasting and creating would come later, the dying was the craft of today.  (this picture was taken by Abigail) 
And how much fun we had.  Mixes of different food dyes created greens, brown, blue, purple, orange, pink and teal.  The sorting, pasting, creating and matching days ahead are sure to be fun.

October 25, 2013


Today this little family is on the road.  On the road to connecting once again with Grammie and Grandpa.
It might just be for only a few days, but I do think it will be a great weekend for everyone involved.

October 24, 2013

Restoring History for Further Learning

Last year I found an old school house desk at our local free market.  It was one of those desks where the seat and desk are attached, both can move up and down, the seat swivels and the top of the desk lifts up.  When I saw it I fell in love, Josh not so much.  You see, the desk was brown with rust, the seat had flaking purple paint on it and the desk top was COVERED with stickers and tape.
 So we came home and stored it away in the shed for another day.  Well, a few months ago I got ambitious, took it all apart and started sanding.  Life got busy and it then sat in pieces day after day after day.  Josh was super sweet a few weekends ago and between working on house projects he scrapped, sanded, smoothed and polished those pieces down to bare metal for me once again.  The kids and I came home from town one day to this paint station all set up.  Josh certainly knows that a way to my heart is in helping me finish the projects I start that I have no time to do!
 That night after the kids were in bed I set to work.
 First I primed each piece to help prevent future rusting 
then as it came time to apply color I moved the project (and the smell) outside.  Abigail, and Ethan, were very excited to watch each day as coat after coat of fresh paint was applied.  As the pieces dried they were slowly reassembled into...
A new desk for Abigail.  The freshly cleaned desk top, shiny black frame and burnt orange seat are very loved.  This desk now holds crayons, coloring books, and the occasional treasure that Ethan likes to drop in whenever he can.  The only problem we see is that we have only one...lets just hope future visits to the free market provides such great finds for us again.

October 23, 2013

Flooring Please

It is amazing to me what a fresh coat of paint can do to a room.  Every time I see plain drywall turn into a smooth colored (even if it is a shade of white) wall I am amazed.  
And with the walls all done Josh has put down the new subfloor and the flooring tiles will come next.  I have to admit that this mama is getting very excited about our third floor toilet being reinstalled.  With our little girl becoming more and more night time trained it means she is waking herself up at night to use the potty.  The trips downstairs to use that bathroom means she things she needs a snack each time she walks by the pantry.  I don't mind the occasional night when a snack is needed but the return of our upstairs toilet will helpfully break this new trend she is enjoying.  After so many years of this bathroom being unfinished with insulation, raw floors, exposed piping and all it is amazing how fresh it all can be.

October 22, 2013

Welcome To The Fort

There has been something fun and exciting going on at our house lately.
 Something that is entire of Josh's creation and which started with the cardboard boxes that our new bathtub came in.
 Something that quickly moved to the living room
 And couch cushions and blankets.
I am sure you have guessed it...forts.  Or houses as Abigail likes to call them.  These forts/houses are built, played in, destroyed and then remade daily.
 Josh will often surprise the kids and make a fort before he goes to bed.  
Which means the kids can jump right into the fun as soon as they wake up.  Although I do find it harder to draw them to the breakfast table after this.  On the days Josh is at work and there is no fort Abigail is learning to make her own.  Just a pillow here, a blanket there but boy is she proud of them.  Ethan does love to knock them over but for now that just means there is more fun in putting it back together.  At least that is what I try and help Abigail see.  Yes, the fort days of winter have arrived at our house.

October 20, 2013

Ready for Paint

We have good news to report to you on the bathroom work.
 The tub is in, the walls are up, the edge has been drywalled, the walls have been textured and now...
the bathroom is ready for a new coat of paint.  This does mean I will loose my wall art and that does make me a little sad, but the thought of a finished bathroom does seem to cheer me up quite a bit.  Josh is doing amazing work and things are moving right along.

October 18, 2013

Extra Padding

Thank you for walking through our Oregon trip with us.  It really was a great time.  But now we are home an a lot is happening.  House projects, fun projects, weather changes, children are growing and life is moving right along.  I still think that I might take a few days to play catch up with all that happened this fall that I have yet to share with you as well.  Busy days these are for sure.
But for today I wanted to show you this short video of Ethan.  In the past week he has really started walking.  He now will pick himself up and trot across the room and none of us ever get tired of seeing it.  But even as he learns to walk on his own he has fallen more and more in love with the grocery cart. The kids love this cart but as Ethan's unstable steps push it all around the house we have found it has become a battering ram.  So the other day Josh took it upon himself to provide a little extra padding.  Now as Ethan and Abigail fill their cart in the pantry and push it around the "store" our walls and cabinets will have a little extra protection.  What a great idea.

October 17, 2013

The Taste, Smell, and Feel

I know apples are grown in a lot of places in this world.  But growing up in northern New York where there were apple trees all around I knew we were in the middle of apple country.  The only apple I ever really knew were macintosh.  
Living in Alaska where our apples all come from the Northwest means that that we get fuji, gala, rainier, and others.  But never macintosh. 
So you can imagine the joy we had at finding an orchard in Oregon that had a row of Macintosh apples in their U Pick area.  
When we arrived and asked for them they said there weren't much left but for us, there was just enough.
It was so much fun to watch Abigail and Ethan pick and eat apples right from the trees in the orchard.
We ate, picked, played until Abigail declared she couldn't do it anymore.  
With that we loaded up and headed out.  Fresh macintosh apples and a few pears to add to our luggage to be flown home.  We love that we can now say we have been to Oregon, enjoyed the sites, and we will head back there some other day I am sure.

October 16, 2013

The Winter Fort

We had a lot of national park/monuments planned into our trip.  But as I stated previously, the government shut down occurred on the first day of our trip and thus our plans had to change.
 But not to be easily discouraged we decided that a stop at Ft. Clatsop for a quick visit to Lewis and Clark's winter fort. 
 We parked outside the park and walked through the woods to the fort.
Lucky for us, we had watched a documentary on Lewis and Clark not too long ago.  So even though all of the buildings were closed and locked we still had an idea of what we were looking at.
And as we gazed into the trees it was quiet, still and amazing to think that this is what the team of 32 explores saw their first time they arrived on the coast of Oregon.  Quite a site to see then and now.  

October 15, 2013

Into the Sun

 When you live in Alaska it takes a long time to get anywhere.  Just the way it is when the state is big.  Lots of big opportunities that take a lot of time.  So it was very fun for us to drive from the gorge that was east of Portland all the way to the coast during a single nap time.  When you aren't use to this it really does surprise us each time.
 On the coast the kids learned that it was time to play.
We stayed in Astoria and visited Seaside. 
 Both were the perfect places for play, sun and time on the beach.
Bare toes for all!

October 14, 2013

Into The Tress

A few days into our trip in Oregon we rented a car and headed out...
 out of the city and into the trees.
 The combination of a geologist who loves glaciers (the columbia river gorge was created by glacial outwash from Montana)
 and a woodworker who loves wood, trees and the arts
 meant we had a wonderful day of exploring.
 Even though the government shut down could closed visitor centers of national sites it couldn't actually close down nature.
So we hiked
and learned on our own all the beauty that the Columbia River Gorge has to offer.  The waterfalls, trees, fall colors and expansiveness of it all was beautiful indeed.

October 11, 2013

City Living

We aren't city people.  But a visit for a day or two is still fun. 
 Portland is a beautiful city.  Old, colorful, clean and easy to navigate.
 We love libraries so on a rainy afternoon it was the perfect place to visit.  
 Thanks to groupon for a few new adventures we otherwise wouldn't have taken.  One such adventure was a coupon to Ben and Jerry's.  We learned we must use the entire coupon at once so it was fun for all.  Abigail you want m&m's on yours, sure.  Add an extra scoop of mango sorbet please.  What fun to be so extravagant with something like ice cream.
 Yes, even as we got ready to head back out to the country, we did enjoy our time in the city.
And even as Ethan didn't sleep that night (a reminder that nope he shouldn't eat ice cream) we enjoyed the time as a family out exploring.  Will the kids remember all we did on this trip, nope, but I do believe they will remember that we had fun.

October 10, 2013

Around the World

We took one cool and rainy morning and headed to the zoo.
This was Ethan's third visit to a zoo, even though he doesn't know it.  But of the three, this is the one he enjoyed the most.
 Since we arrived early, before the real rain started, on a not such a busy season, we had to experience the petting zoo through the fence.
 But even though it wasn't peak season the animals were out and about
 Love this picture of Ethan showing a little concern that daddy is holding him up to see the lion.
 The portland zoo really is amazing in the fact that they have a lot of over hangings and indoor areas so that when the rain comes you can still see the animals.  They also allow you to get closer to the animals than any other zoo I have seen.
 From the arctic, to the tropics, Africa to Australia.  We toured the world of animals together.
 When you live in a place all year that doesn't have a zoo.
It sure is fun to explore one.

Let Me Tell You A Story

Years ago my mother bought the kids a bear that reads them The Night Before Christmas.   It is a favorite every year to everyone, but Josh....