July 29, 2016

And We Were Off

Our time with the grandparents was fun but this little band of travelers had a few more places to go.  Part of our trip to southern Alaska was to take the ferry out to the island of Kodiak.  In order to get there the kids and I had to drive two more hours south to the tip of the Kenai peninsula, also known as my favorite town - Homer, Alaska.
 Last year when I brought my sister here little 15 month old Naomi came with us but besides that my kids have never seen my favorite place.  On this particular day we only had a hour before we had to get to the ferry.  That hour was full of going potty, finding a parking place to leave our truck for a week and checking in with the ferry's main desk.
 But as we drove through town I told the kids about this place.  This place that takes my breath away and makes my heart all aflutter.  
 And even though time was a little short I took the drive to Bishop's beach to show them mama's dream home - the glass house.  It was so sweet for me to see my kids here, in this place of my dreams.
But it was a very short moment because we had places to go and new adventures to achieve.  We boarded the great Alaskan Maritime Ferry and started southwest towards Kodiak.  Aunt Heather and her kids were waiting for us.  We were ready.

July 28, 2016

A Day At The Beach

I love Alaska's beaches.  But for us they are 400-500 miles away and we just don't get to go very often.
 Due to Josh's work schedule we usually visit Soldotna in the winter or early, early spring.  
 And whenever we can we visit Soldotna, we try and visit the beach.  But in November, March or early April the beach isn't as welcoming to us as it was in July.
 With the beach about to be taken over by dip netters (think mobs upon mobs of people) we made sure we visited the beach before our trip to Kodiak. 
Because the combination of the sunshine, the sand in our toes, the mountains and volcanoes makes my favorite kind of beach day to enjoy.

July 27, 2016


I mentioned in my blog post last week that my father-in-law took the time to teach me to salmon fish. The talk of fishing, the sight of fishing poles and a mama that kept going away to try for those elusive  fish peaked the kids interest.
 So one morning Daryl took the kids out on their own little fishing expedition.  
 It might have just been the lake around the corner from their house and a small row boat that just fit two 
But let me tell you it meant all the world to these kids.  
That one on one time with grandpa, the chance to hold a fishing pole by themselves, the talk of how grandpa showed them the bubbles from the fish they just couldn't seem to catch and the fact that Abigail got to help row the boat.  Weeks later they are still talking about their time that they went fishing, just them, with grandpa.  And when Abigail told Ethan that she didn't catch a fish either (she was the second to go out), he smiled and said, "You, Mama and me - we are on the same team.  The team that can't catch anything."  And with that he walked away a happy boy.  Oh, the joys of being three.

July 26, 2016

Arts And Crafts

There are many great things about Grammie's house but one thing the kids love is time with gramme in her workshop.  She waited years upon years to have one and last year my father-in-law built one for her.  
 One thing I love is that before the kids even arrive projects have been thought of and supplies are ready for each age, gender and child specific.  She is very intentional about picking things that the kids are excited to do.
 The workshop is really Abigail's dream come true.  Each day we were in Soldotna it was a haven of love for her and her artistic love she got from her Grammie and her father.
 This place is so special to Grammie but something I love is that she doesn't mind sharing it with three little kids.  They are given boundaries but they are also given freedom and to both of those things they grow so much.  Even Naomi knows which bins, beads, and activities she is allow to touch and enjoy.  Grammie loves her space but she also loves these kids and loves to help them become creators too.
Time with Grammie in her workshop is a wonderful time indeed.  All the supplies in the world don't compare to time with the mastermind behind it all.  What those supplies can make with a mentor's vision is what makes this place so special for all.

July 25, 2016

Summer Memories

We are officially back in Fairbanks.  (This is also known as Alaska-Alaska to the kids.  When I tell them that Soldotna and Kodiak were also Alaska they say, "Oh, we know.  Those were Alaska but home in Fairbanks, why that is Alaska-Alaska."  I guess to kids telling them that traveling 600 miles by car and almost 12 hours on a ferry keeps you all within the same state seems like too much to take in.  I have shown them countless maps but still.  Fairbanks, home, daddy and all - that is Alaska-Alaska). 
 And now that we are back in Alaska-Alaska I have started sorting through all the many pictures I have from our trip.  Oh digital age.  And as I look through the hundreds I think back to these days we spent in southern Alaska with a smile.  It was summer memories that I dream of giving my kids.
 There were certainly rainy days but for the most part the sun shined, the hot dogs were roasted, the perfect art of cooking a marshmallow was mastered, beaches were wandered, friends were discovered, bikes were used all day (even in just a bathing suit), fishing brought suntans, new places were seen and summer childhood memories were created.
 At home we have the garden (so overgrown and in need of attention), bills, friends, our library and usual activities.  We have rain, cool weather and feelings of concern that maybe we missed summer here.
 Yet even as the weather is cool today we know the month of August is around the corner and more summer to come.  But regardless of what tomorrow holds, time in "alaska" was great.
Lots of memories, stories and pictures to share.  Our health has returned, we have come home, the bags are unpacked and our normal routine is being rediscovered.  Alaska was great but Alaska-Alaska, now that is home.

July 17, 2016


Two weeks ago today the kids and I left Fairbanks and headed south.  We traveled first to Soldotna to visit Josh's parents for a few days before going even further south on our next adventure.  Last Saturday I drove the kids to Homer, Alaska where we boarded a ferry and rode for 12 hours to Kodiak, Alaska.  (anyone heard of the TV show Deadliest catch?  Yup that is the island we were on but not there for fishing.)  Nope we were there to visit my dearest friend Heather and her kids.  Her husband is now stationed in the coast guard there.  We are so excited they are once again within the state of Alaska even if it is a little hard to get to them, they are still reachable.  We had a great week in Kodiak before returning on the ferry last Friday to the mainland.  Unfortunately, the kids and I all became quite sick at the end of our stay.  The kids while we were still in Kodiak and myself a couple of hours into the ferry ride.  A super high fever and three kids stuck on a boat for so many hours isn't a great combination but the kids rallied and did great.  Back in Homer I loaded the truck up with kids and gear and then started the 80 mile drive north.  Lucky for me my dear husband called to check in on me part way and hearing how horrible things were and how bad I was he stepped into action over 500 miles away.  Hanging up with phone with me he called his parents and they started to drive south as I drove north (this is late at night by then, thank the Lord for them).  We crossed paths a 1/2 hour south of Soldotna where I was put in a quiet car and told to rest and Josh's dad took over the truck and kids and got us all home safe.  

All this being said, I had blog posts all programmed out until my return when I was going to be posting all of our great trip pictures.  But since we still aren't home, and won't be until this band of travelers is well enough to venture the extra 500 miles home, there are no pictures downloaded.  I do have a picture taken by my father-in-law of me fishing on the Kenai river for salmon.  Can you believe I have lived in Alaska for 14 years and never fished for salmon?  I have such generous in-laws that always supply us that I haven't had to learn.  But this year I have been in town at the right time and Josh's dad took me out a bunch.  I still have yet to catch one but as we get healthy there is always another chance.
So as for this blog it will be quiet for a few days.  First this family needs to heal, then we need to travel, we need to get back to our home and then the pictures will be downloaded and the blog will resume.  Until then we will stick to popsicles, motrin, juice and family that is helping us get back on our feet.

July 15, 2016

The cold and rainy days of June dampened the garden's growth.  I was feeling discouraged last week for sure.  Yet the sun has once again returned recently and things are starting to pick up their pace.  So far the only real harvests have been red strawberries and cucumbers, but much more is going to be ready before we know it.  Yeah for finally being into the parts of summer that are rewarding.

July 14, 2016

a work in progress...

Josh's work schedule for the summer has picked up since the first of July.  Long hours in the field makes working on the fort hard. Regardless, amazing progress is being made.  The main structure is up, the walls and roof are insulated and now Josh gets to start working on the fun parts of making this a regular old fort into a Klynstra adventure fort.  

July 13, 2016

Cooking Show - Part III (Baking Edition)

We are over a month past Naomi's birthday but her cake pop pictures can't be forgotten.
I started with the cake pop batter that I had in the freezer leftover from Abigail's four layer birthday cake in December.  Yeah for using something I had and for freeing up some freezer space.  The result also ended with the cake pops being multi-colored.  A win for all.
The dipping in white chocolate was very common place but the pup pup ears and nose were fashioned from flattened tootsie rolls.
Then I used a drop of frosting from a previous project, also in the freezer, and added a bunch of red coloring to turn the green frosting into a dark gray.
The results were perfect.  I made just enough from the ingredients I had on hand and ended with just I had hoped for.
And the kids first experience with cake pops were a huge success.  Everyone loved them.  Ethan thought they were so cool that he has changed his birthday request from a single spiderman head cake to a bunch of spiderman head cake pops instead.  We will see how I am feeling come September.  One thing is for certain, being a mother stretches my baking skills for sure.  

July 12, 2016

Thoughts On Motherhood

When you wake up as a mother there is more then one to do list to dictate the day.  Where I might have something in mind three little people also wake up with thoughts in their heads.
The other morning was one of those days where I was busy getting things done but needed to stop and face a very frustrated child.  Abigail is big into fixing hair these day.  My scalp has been abused many times of late but more often it is her dolls that get the most of beauty shop.  Well, on this particular morning she had about had it with Emily's tangled hair.
Lucky for me google helped and we got to advance her typical beauty shop to include detangling hair.  Who knew Emily had such beautiful hair, I should have taking a before picture, and I got a good reminder that stopping what needs to be done to save a 5 year old's day is always worth it.  

July 11, 2016


As is the case every summer, time without snow is time to prepare for snow.  This spring Josh cut and we both hauled wood for what seemed like forever, but was really just a few months.  Now in lays the job of splitting and storing all of this winter warmth.
"After the fort is done" has been the promise.  Building a fort is certainly more fun the splitting anyways.  Summers are for a little bit of fun, right?

July 8, 2016

Tea Party

We had quite the event occur at our house the other day.  It all resulted for two different reasons.  One is that Abigail loves to plan things.  We have parties, travel, shopping trip and more happen for her brother, sister and toys daily.  If I stepped in and helped any of these imagination parties become bigger deals we would spend all of our time celebrating and preparing.  So most of the time I let her go on it herself and she is happy.  But every once and awhile we do make one of her plans a slightly bigger deal and it becomes memorable.

The second reason is because this summer I am being stared in the face everyday that Abigail is starting kindergarten and she is growing up.  I am trying to embrace the childhood within our house a little this summer then ever before.
So when Abigail came to me and said she wanted to plan a tea party for when a friend visited we went with it.  She made a huge list of things we needed.  Cups, cookies, flowers, cards, dolls, table clothes, crowns, cups, balloons, and so, so, so much more.  The next morning we got ready.  When our friend Izzy arrived we got ready with it all.  Making your own crown to wear to the party is pretty fun.
And then we brought out our picnic table to the yard, set out our table cloth and best tea party dishes.
The food that comes to a tea party is one of the most important parts.
Lucky for us it was a sunny day and perfect for our outdoor party where all of us were dressed in our best.
And for the tea party entertainment Abigail picked out all books that had the themes of tea parties and wearing crowns.  It was a magical morning for sure.

July 7, 2016

Thoughts On Christmas

Last week we had a little Christmas in June going on. Partof how I keep holidays affordable is try and cut down on shipping costs. Getting to visit my dear friends and her kids next week means some Christmas sewing was accomploshed and mid July the gifts will be tucked into her closet for the festivities in six months. Silly to some but for us, this works. 

July 6, 2016

Just For Fun

Josh took the kids to the playground the other day and had the following conversation:

J:  What do you want to be when you grow up?
A:  An artist and a Doctor.
E:  I want to be a dad, a doctor, and a pilot.
J:  You can be all of those things.  You know I work with a man who is a pilot just for fun.
E:  Yeah, I want to be a dad just for fun.

July 5, 2016

Simple Joys

I am always, always, in search of a good book.  And where I don't talk about my library much on this blog I should.  We are there several times a week.  It is one of my favorite places, and the kids love it too.  And when I can't find what I am looking for I absolutely love the interlibrary loan program.  
So on this rainy summer day I salute libraries, librarians, and good books that arrive right when you need them.  Along with that I love the chance to read it cover to cover in one night (gotta love this sunshine until one am deal.  You never know what time it is until the last page is turned).  Tacoma, Washington don't worry, your book will be coming back soon.  It certainly was a good one!

July 1, 2016

Thoughts On A National Holiday Weekend

Happy Birthday America.  As the kids get older the holidays are more and more important and so much more fun to celebrate.  The fourth of July in the Klynstra house will certainly have a birthday cake, talk of 1776 and a list of things we are thankful being American provides us with.  
What it will not have is fireworks.  When you live in the land of the midnight sun we only have fireworks on winter solstice (december 21st) and New Years Eve (December 31st).  The dark, cold part of our year.  But you better believe that our town gets a deal on those fireworks because even though we view them in December instead of July you better believe they are all red, white and blue. Enjoy the long weekend, I know we are so thankful Josh will be with us for three whole days.  Summer goes fast, I hope these next three days go slow.

Tree Disaster of 2017

We had quite the tree drama this year.  After years and years of real trees from the woods I was done with the needles.  DONE.  Last year A...