November 30, 2016

Moving Into Christmas

In this house there is still not one piece of christmas decoration out.  You see Abigail's birthday is next week and well, that holiday must come first before it is overtaken with Christmas.  But the mind set is there and Josh and I have been tucking things aside for the holidays here and there.  One of the main gifts Josh and I decided to get the kids this year were new sleeping pads.  We have started camping and cabin dwelling enough that just a fleece blanket to lay on isn't fun for anyone.
 Even though it was a month early it seemed silly to us to not give the kids their gifts that they could be using at this cabin.  So we wrapped them up, brought them with us and presented them to the kids there where they could use their new gifts.
Honestly I wasn't exactly sure how the kids would react.  It is a sleeping pad after all, not a toy or activity.  But the kids didn't disappoint.  They were SO very excited.  They talked about them the whole trip, exclaimed how well they slept each morning and thanked us over and over.
A good choice for this little family that loves to go on adventures! 


November 29, 2016

Our Feast

Part of cabin dwelling with little people is keeping a steady balance of self entertainment and provided activities to keep the peace in a tight space.
 Since this trip was our Thanksgiving holiday I tried to have us focus on what we were thankful for and giving back.
 In this case we were giving back to the animals of the Alaska Range.
 Part of the feast we made were cheerios on pipe cleaners and orange peels lined with peanut butter and bird seeds.
 There wer no trees close to the cabin but we covered the bushes with our treats and treasures.  It was too cold for much animal activity while we were there but the kids were excited for a warm day when the animals come out and discover their treats.
 The day after thanksgiving we popped some popcorn on the little wood stove and had an honest attempt at making popcorn chains.  Naomi gave one or two a valiant effort.
Abigail actually filled about a 1/3rd of her string and Ethan, he enjoyed the snack immensely!  Taking care of those around us in ways that we can.  Something we all enjoy doing and the efforts fill the days and the hearts with happiness.  

November 28, 2016

Time In The Mountains

Last Thursday was a little different for this family.  Instead of getting up in the morning to cook a turkey we loaded up the truck and headed out of town.
 We brought lots of firewood, blankets, sleeping bags, winter gear and activities.
 We were heading to the mountains.
 A place with no internet, cell service, daily chores, cooking and school work.
 There are state of Alaska public use cabins all over the state and we were so excited to introduce a new one to the kids.  Super small, dark and rustic but perfect for a few days to grow closer as a family.
A cabin in the mountains, amazing stars, and northern lights that danced all around us each night.  Not a turkey dinner but for us, the perfect way to spend our thanksgiving holiday!

November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Oh what a day.  So much all around us to be so very, very grateful, thankful and blessed by.
This year we are trading a turkey dinner and all the fixings for family time and something a little different.  Can't wait to experience it all and come back next week with a lot of memories to share.  

November 23, 2016

History of Thanksgiving

Last week and this week we have been learning about the history of Thanksgiving.  Honestly the whole "teach a large historic event that became a national holiday" thing can be intense when you want to do it right and break it down to a 5 year old, and under, crowd.  
 We started by watching Charlie Brown's thanksgiving together and then took special days to learn more.  One day we learned about the Mayflower - where it came from, where it went and who it carried.  Then we took a look at the pilgrims - their reason for coming to America, their hardships, their work, and their outcome.  At the end of last week we rounded the study out with the Indians - who they were, why they were nice, what they taught the pilgrims and when did the first thanksgiving actually occur.
 This week I had a middle of the night thought regarding what else we could look at this week.  Abigail and I used the small foam "logs" Josh gets from work (the test tube slots that are removed from foam blocks for shipping test tubes to labs for sampling) and built a log cabin like the pilgrims might have made.
It was fun to watch Abigail work through all we had talked about last week.  In the end we had a cabin, an outhouse, a pine tree, garden with corn, squash/pumpkins and beans (thanks popeye for reminding us of the three sisters) and a wild turkey running in the yard.  I am not a big crafty mom.  Josh does most of the art and that is really a lot of painting and drawing.  It was fun this past few lessons to be reminded that cutting, gluing and crafting together with my big kindergartener is not always necessary but always fun!  Abigail is much more agreeable about math and reading when a craft is part of the lesson as well!  Learning about Thanksgiving - hands on makes the memories last longer.

November 22, 2016

Spy Days

The other morning the older kids took a long time getting dressed.  No arguing was occurring but a lot of talking and planning.  They came down dressed like this.  In their darkest clothes and shirts on backwards.  This day there we two spies about the house.  
Life these days rarely has a dull moment.

November 21, 2016

Something New

The other day there was a small break between taking care of kids, teaching homeschool and house chores.  Well, maybe there wasn't as much of a break as I needed a little beak.  Enough of one to try my hand in something a little new.
Homemade soft pretzels for lunch.
Stepping away from the same day to day chores can often lead to fun, and tasty results.  A reminder to do this more often!!  And in hindsight this small activity was a home chore, took care of the children and laugh Abigail something new.  Not too bad at all.  

November 17, 2016

Special For You, Special For Me

Last Saturday Ethan and I had a special date day.  There was a movie, perfect for a little boy, showing and I had bought tickets two months before as a treat for Ethan.  We headed out first thing in the morning to enjoy a breakfast out together and then our mickey mouse race car movie.  He had a great time.  I had a great time.

The girls at home, why they had a good time too.  It is hard for Abigail to have over a special friend when Ethan is home since he loves her friends too and always wants to play.  With this in mind I call my friend and planned to have her daughter, and Abigail's friend, come for a visit while Ethan and I were gone.  Once setting that up I let Josh know that they would love to just play together but it might be good to have a few activities planned to help the morning move along as well.
 So while Ethan and I were out the girls, with daddy, baked cupcakes.
 And then art teacher daddy taught and art lesson to two instead of the usual one.  The girls learned how to use chalk pastes and to draw a bunny.  The backgrounds and extra trees, flowers, birds, butterflies and landscapes were their own ideas and unique to both of them.
And even though this little miss didn't have a special friend just for her along she had a good morning being one of the big girls and daddy's special helper.

Most Saturdays are work days and family days.  This past one was a little different as we seemed split up and going in opposite directions but the extra attention each child was given made it all worth it and one that was special for all.

Plus Ethan and I made it home in time to help decorate the cupcakes.  A fun morning always ends well with a cupcake.

November 16, 2016

Surprise

Yesterday morning I made the kids a breakfast of oatmeal, honey from our bees and blueberries.  

Abigail came to the table with a look of frustration on her face and declared, "This is not what I wanted to eat."

I reminded her that regardless it was breakfast and she needed to be thankful.

She sat down, took a bite and then turned to me with a huge smile and declared, "Huhh, this is surprisingly good."

Oh how she made me laugh!

November 15, 2016

Something Different

Last week Abigail and I had the opportunity to take an art class together.  It was put on through our Homeschool program.  It was given by a lady who teaches art classes here in town and going into the class I had not idea what to expect.  Ethan and Naomi were able to spend a hour with daddy so it was just my girl and I.
What a fun hour we had.  The teacher taught us the art of abstract cubism, not what I expected at all.  Abigail loved it.  I enjoyed the time with Abigail being taught together.  We laughed, giggled, mixed paint, drew shapes and admired each other's work.  Everyone in the class drew an abstract dog, everyone turned out different.

What a fun class it was and a memory that still makes us both smile days later!

November 14, 2016

Up Keep

When you build a house yourself, one nail and board at a time, you often wonder when you will be "done."  People will often ask us, "when did you finish your house?"  We answer, "Well the carpet was '09, sink and kitchen '10, basement '12 and so on."  But for sometime now the house has been "built" but it doesn't mean that the work is done. 
The primary building is done but the upkeep is never ending.  These three kids LIVE in this house and Live well and hard.  New changes coming to Abigail's special place.  Lots of love that place receives.  Rough and tumbling love!

November 11, 2016

Not What I Intended

The other day I threw out the wood stove ashes, came in to start a new fire.  Then I taught Abigail school, played with my other two, washed and hung a load of laundry and headed to the kitchen to start preparing lunch.  All about 3 1/2 hours after stepping outside I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  Smoke billowing from outside.  A step closer to the window and I saw flames coming out of our brush pile.  
I quickly ran down, dressed the kids in their snow gear (all the while Naomi is running in circles screaming, "there's a bon, there's a bon" after she heard me tell them to dress quickly to go take care of the bonfire.)  We all headed outside to keep our eye on the not intended project for the day.  

Josh is smart when he makes the brush piles we accumulate each year from brush, branches and constant yard clean up.  These piles are stacked and far from the house and other brush.  So as the fire burned it cleaned up this year's pile and I was able to work on moving the unburned items from the edge into the middle.  We had a few other small piles here and there in the yard that we moved into place and project Klynstra clean up commenced.  

I am so careful every time I clean out the wood stove and empty ashes.  The day's elements were not on my side.  Luckily the snow in the yard, pile was stacked just right, and we had plenty of daylight to monitor and clean up the pile as needed.

Usually we burn our brush piles in the dead of winter at -20 or colder.  This year we were just a little earlier.  Not what I intended to do that day but we are all happy it is done!

November 10, 2016

A Matter Of Opinion

Alaska Airlines had a "paint the plane" contest last month.  A little challenge to the kids to say what Alaska means to them, through pictures, and the top pictures picked would be painted onto a 2017 cargo plane.
 Those allowed to participate had to be in Kindergarten up to age 18 but I gave all three kids forms and they felt so important.  I had them each put their drawings first onto a blank practice sheet and then transfix them onto the contest form.  
The results (The above images are Abigail's final draft): 

Question #1 - If Alaska were an animal it would be.
Abigail:  A lynx 
Ethan:  A Bear

Question #2 - My favorite think to do in Alaska is.
Abigail:  Make snow angels
Ethan:  Go swimming
(You have to realize how much this was a test of motherhood not to change or manipulate their answers.  Swimming Ethan?  Besides going in one pond and a river twice he has almost never gone swimming outside in Alaska.  But that was his answer!)

Question #3 - When I dream of Alaska, I see.
Ethan:  A whale
Abigail:  My grandpa shooting a moose.

Yeah, pretty much I am sure we won't be declaring any grand winners of the contest from our house.  The kids were so proud of their answers, and drawings, and I just wanted to put my head in my hand and laugh or cry.  Wasn't really sure which.  All the wonderful camping, berry picking, hiking and living we do in Alaska.  Hunting for a moose Abigail?  My girl loves her Grandpa that is for sure but I am pretty positive Alaska Airlines isn't going to paint a hunting image onto their airplane.  As realistic as it is for most people in Alaska.  
Ethan's contest form.  

The kids were so proud.  Better luck to us all next time.  

November 9, 2016

Second Quarter

Abigail and I are reaching the end of the second quarter of homeschool.  Oh how we have both learned so much.  Some days are good and somedays are hard but how thankful we are to be on this journey.  As a parent there is always the fear is that the best decision hasn't been made.  The deliverance of this little note helps me to know that so far both of us are happy with were we are today!
The note says, "Dear Mama, Thank you, mama for teaching me school.  Love, Abigail"

Pretty much frame worth to me right now!!  I don't have co-workers or an employer to provide evaluations and progress reports but this note, it fills that need today!

November 8, 2016

Snowy Days

Over the weekend it snowed here in Fairbanks.  Usually snow makes me make cookies but not this time.  This weekend homemade eggnog was made and the thoughts and feelings of the holiday seasons to come were once again upon this house.
To today we put in our vote and come home and sip our eggnog, thankful for all God has given us.

Praise God for all that is past.  Trust Him for all that is to come.

November 7, 2016

Quote Of The Day

In preparing myself for the national vote today I find this quote has stuck with me.  I will do my part.  I will put in my vote.  Then I will live my days as the wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend that I can be.  How I raise my children, face my days and where I find my joy will not change.
Kids and I always sing the Alaskan song on our way to vote.  Practicing today and teaching tomorrow.  No matter the results, I am proud to raise my kids in America where there is a choice.

November 4, 2016

Content

Last night I hosted a party at my house.  It was a busy day, and I ended up in bed super late, but so rewarding.  Leading up to a party I am always so nervous.  I don't do well in a crowd.  It just isn't where I feel comfortable.  

Before the party started the house was clean, the candles were lite, the chairs set up, and all the food was made.  Things were ready but I was a mess.

Then my friends walked in the door and I was reminded the people came because we are friends, not out of obligation or coercion.  People came and people enjoyed.  

So today might be a little on the tired side but there is joy today.  Success in the hosting and contentment in our Fairbanks community.  Plus, after a party the house is always clean.  Love that!  

November 3, 2016

Fighting Back Against The Odds

I heard someone say something so sad the other day that I can't get it off my mind.  They said, "as we grow you find yourself and your friends graduating college around the same time then getting married and then having kids.  Now we are at the stage where all our friends are getting divorced." 

I struggled with this statement for days.  When I mentioned it to Josh he lucky reminded me that we are surrounded by friends Not getting divorced but the sadness was still there in my mind.  The realization that in our mid-thirties and 10 1/2 years into marriage we are become more of the special cases then the normal.  How is that possible?  

I am so happy to say that Josh and I have a strong marriage and one that we both feel grows as each year goes on.  But this marriage, it is a serious thing that we each don't take lightly.  So even amongst the crazy world of being parents, work, bills, homeschool and being part of our community we commit to each other first and foremost.  
Home date nights are become essential to our marriage, connecting and communication.  The kids get tucked into bed and dinner just the two of us, or a card game, are put on the table.  Time to reconnect and remember, we are in this for the long haul and no matter what is ahead, we can do it together.  

November 2, 2016

What She Likes

Someone bent over, smiled at Naomi the other day and turned to me with a question, "what does she like these days?"
With a grin I was able to say babies and books.  Yup, that pretty much sums up my girl at two pretty well.  This setting, Naomi sitting surrounded by her book, is a daily event.  Reading to her is good but getting to hold the book herself and "read" at her own pace.  That is her favorite for sure.

November 1, 2016

A Halloween Treat

Not only did the kids get to dress up yesterday and march around the library in costume, but they got to come home to a special treat too.
Yesterday after lunch my wonder woman lost her first tooth.  It was quite the event of the day.  A small pouch was sewn that very afternoon for the special treasure and the tooth and pouch were tucked under her pillow last night.  The tooth fairy has officially visited the Klynstra house.  Oh what fun!