Sunday, August 29, 2010

The outdoor kitchen

No, we do not have some fancy outdoor kitchen. BUT, the blessings do have an outdoor kitchen.

They have quite an elaborate set up over here. And the kitchen is moved on a regular basis. I would venture to say at least 5 moves total since April. Good thing it is outside, otherwise they would need to sweep and mop! They have scavenged containers and utensils. Big brother doesn't do much "cooking" in the kitchen but he helps them move and hauls water to this remote location.

Anytime I am picking from the garden I get requests for the not good to pick veggies.

I can say that this has been some of the best fun for me as Mom this summer.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Figuring it out

What a busy yet wonderful day! I have questioned myself all week as to why I started school in August! I really wanted to get a good five weeks under our belt before we have Grands visit at the end of September and I have planned to have six weeks of full curriculum and a week off (I am planning on having the blessings keep up with math and spelling on the seventh week). The seventh week will be a project/planning/whatever week for our family.  But next year we will still be on summer schedule until after Labor Day. Summer schedule for us is math/spelling/piano practice in the morning and then after that free time and often entire days off due to outside commitments/travel/mom's projects/etc.

We are all loving our science programs this year. The girls are going through Apologia's Elementary Science Human Anatomy and Physiology. We aren't moving as fast as I had planned but we are enjoying the notebooking journals and learning the history of the study of the human body so far. Levi is using Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science. He had two experiments today and he enjoyed that. I purchased the notebook for this from Knowledge Box Central which is nice as well and helps me make sure he getting the information from the reading.

In yet other news, more food preserving today and jelly making. I froze two quarts each of broccoli and cauliflower...not much but still food in the freezer! I made a batch of Alaska blueberry jelly and a batch of blackberry jelly (from purchased frozen berries since I had all the stuff out for the blueberry!) The kitchen is cleaned and the counters are clear except for cooling jelly jars. Thanks to Mrs. L for coming out and bringing dinner and playing with blessings while I finished up the jelly.

We had a slight frost so we might be able to pick lowbush cranberries which are not ready until after a frost to be picked. I love those things so I hope we can pick them this weekend. I need to go look at them and see if they are ready.

Garden Harvest

It is that time of year to harvest the garden. Last Saturday we picked, broke, washed and canned green beans. Twelve quarts!!!! I am so happy to have twelve (well 11, since one didn't seal and we opened immediately to taste) quarts of green beans in the pantry. We will enjoy those this winter for sure. I do not have a picture of the finished product in jars, but here are the picked beans.

We picked four big heads of cauliflower that will be blanched and frozen.

Broccoli, we have picked and eaten lots of broccoli, I think some will have to go to the freezer.

We still have celery, potatoes, carrots and Brussel sprouts to harvest. And we still have lettuce galore! Tomatoes are about finished but we just eat those as they come as we only have about 6 plants.I have two zucchini left, one is getting shredded for the freezer and the other will be cooked for a meal.

Frost did get some of the garden on Monday night, but only a small portion. I am thankful to have gotten those beans when we did because they would have been frozen on the bush otherwise.

We are very thankful for the generous garden this summer! And we will be even more thankful as we eat garden potatoes and green beans this winter!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First day of school

I did not get around to taking the pictures with the date on the white board today. I didn't get to alot of things. Since Jenn posted her list of what she learned the first week of school I thought I should post what I learned the first day.

  1. Don't forget to ask the principal for my two days of teacher work days. I meant to but I kept forgetting and time kept getting away. (After his moose hunt, I plan on taking at least one day for my work)

  2. Even though I am not prepared past this week, I am ready for this week. (maybe not wholeheartedly but work wise I am ready)

  3. I was not mentally prepared for school.

  4. The house wasn't as clean as I wanted but I survived, barely.

  5. The blessings weren't ready either, it is still very nice outside, almost too nice.

  6. We didn't get everything I had planned accomplished(I planned too aggressively) and we didn't jump into all subjects at once but we still accomplished a good day's work.

Here are the kids at breakfast, don't they look thrilled. I think next year we should plan a back to school breakfast out with Dad like Leslie's family, I think this is such a neat idea. Hey, maybe we will have  a special breakfast out on Friday for finishing the first week of school? Who knows?

Not quite ready to get going, but up!

Judith looks awake at least!

I did manage to also take a picture of Judith making lunch.

So, there it is, we had breakfast and lunch! And much more!

A Family Friday

Last Friday our family headed out to Pioneer Park for some miniature golf.
Pioneer Park

We had a grand old time hitting the ball around the course. Things here in Alaska are so relaxed for the most part and this place was no exception. Nothing fancy, just fun.

O and B

putting and waiting

All golf

Judith golf


The only way I can publish right now is via quickpress. I have no publish button on my new post page. What is up with that. I have already had to contact hsb admin two times this month, they are going to blacklist my email address before too long.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


With all the painting comes taking down and putting back up. Well, I didn't do much putting back up over the weekend so we had to do some putting back this week. We tried to occupy our busy toddler with paper and his special crayons....this lasted only a few minutes and he began eating the crayons. He loves to eat crayons, oh my! But he sure is cute.


coloring boy

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The garden

I sent one of the kids out to pick a couple of carrots the other day for a salad and this is what came in. I know this isn't a huge carrot but it is the biggest carrot we have ever grown. I can't wait until we harvest the garden and see how big the rest get over the next couple of weeks.

A garden carrot

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Last week

Even with the painting we had a pretty good and even busy week.
Friday afternoon we picked blueberries with friends.

We are picking these within walking distance of our house....for the first time! I have lived in this house for 15 years and never knew these blueberry bushes were here. This is the power line right of way and the road here was only put in a few years ago so they were hidden from me. But not anymore!


We didn't get a ton of berries and I hope to get over there sometime this week to pick more. We were almost too late as many had already fallen to the ground.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I painted the entry area, kitchen ceiling, hallway and doors and trim last week. Whew! I only painted at night after my little fellow went to bed (minus one 20 minute nap time session for some ceiling trim). I made it through and the house wasn't totally destroyed in the process, well, not all of it. I still do not have everything put away that was taken down so I haven't taken pictures yet.
There was a freedom from painting at night only. I didn't feel rushed until Friday night when I wanted it all to be finished so I could clean on Saturday. I had the daytime to do other things, we spent two days away from home. Two days we had friends visit and we even picked blueberries. I missed a little sleep two nights to make it to my goal for that day but I still slept a fairly normal amount of sleep each night.
I had planned to paint the dining room this week but I:

  1. Used all the paint last week

  2. Still have stuff all over the dining room to sort and put away or get rid off

  3. Am planning for school

  4. Am Exhausted  (although this is the best I have felt in 2 1/2 years)

  5. Am helping hostess a baby shower later this week so that will take up a little time to prepare for.

So, I will attemt the dining room next week even though we will be starting school next week, or maybe I will wait until moose season and school is  established?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The fair

Every year when we go to the fair I leave wanting a farm and to enter some of my kids projects and to have the kids enter their food and handcraft creations. Some where over the course of the year I forget all those wantings and go on with life until the next fair!

His ears are not this "forward", the hat was pushing the ears forward...
boy at the fair


spin the apple


I really enjoyed watching the pig movers.
pig movers

chicken looking

Benjamin was worn out!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Since everyone is gearing up for back to school time I thought I would share a cute resource. I receive emails from author Jan Brett the email contains everything from cute coloring pages to handwriting cards and phonetic charts. All adorned with the artwork of Jan Brett.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Read the Bible in 90 Days Challenge

I have taken a challenge of reading through the Bible in 90 days, so far so good. But I can honestly say that I could not stay on track if it weren't for the Bible on CD. Weekends are the worst since our schedule is different. I try to read during the week and supplementing with the Bible on CD to get ahead for the weekend. It just isn't possible for me to get that much time for reading on the weekends.
Something funny, my children do not like Alexander Scourby's voice...
I think once the 90 day challenge is over I will continue to listen to the Bible on CD each day while I am in the kitchen preparing or cleaning up.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Our weird summer weather

We have had the oddest weather this summer and the coolest clouds and thunder! I love thunderstorms and we just do not have many here usually.

Thursday evening the blessings and I loaded up dinner and left home to go meet up with my wonderful husband who was building a "bridge" for a friend of ours so she can get from her house to her car without going up and down stairs.


On the way we saw some really neat clouds!

The farther we went the better it got.

Love the way the sky looks here.

The smoke has cleared out some but we still have an occasional whiff of smoke. I am not complaining though as this summer has not been full of smoke, just scattered with smoke.

The great closet redo

A couple of weeks ago we pulled everything out of the girl's big walk in closet. We painted the lower portion of the walls and then we decided what to get rid of and what to keep.
Now the girls closet holds their clothes, a few toys and our sewing supplies! It has been so nice having a place to sew, even though I have only made a couple of bibs. Sewing will happen more often now.
The girls have been taking my many, many Y2K quilt blocks that I have never sewn together and they are working on patchwork projects.

They love sewing!

The beginnings of a row.

And our curious little fella, we have to keep him out of there!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I have a schedule! I sat down with the calendar and planned out our school calendar. It is a start. We will begin school on August 23rd and school for 6 weeks and then have a week off. We will work from this routine and see how it goes.

Chocolate Chip Cheeseball

I have had this recipe sitting in my "want to try" recipe pile for 3 years! Now, I am kicking myself for not making this sooner. I think my friends want to kick me too!
So, here it is:

Chocolate Chip Cheeseball

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 TBSP brown sugar
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Variety of graham crackers or cookies

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Place into plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Refrigerate at least 1 more hour. Just before serving roll cheese ball in pecans. Serve with graham crackers.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer smoke

Wildfires are no stranger to us here in Alaska. If the summer is hot and dry then we usually have some smoke. One summer about 6 years or so ago, we had weeks of thick, heavy, brown smoke. It was hot and dark and the smoke hung low like fog, it was horrible. We could not see the sun, only an orange spot sometimes visible through the smoke.
This summer has not been like that at all, we have had a good balance of smoke and rain and the smoke just hasn't stayed around over a day at a time and never like that summer a few years ago.
We have a fire burning not so far away. And guess what? I remembered my camera when I left the house yesterday!
So, as I traveled from one side of our town to the other I took pictures of the smoke plume from different places in town.
The first picture was taken near the airport while I was on my way to Fred Meyer.

Same place, closer up.

After leaving Fred's and beginning my journey home.

This picture was taken about half way home from "town" from the overpass.

And pardon the blaring sun, we are happy to still be able to see the sun!
This is on our little gravel road.

Just to tell you how the smoke changes with the wind...Monday was quite smokey here but Tuesday we didn't even smell the smoke or have any haze. Thankful for the wind here.
Today, I do not smell smoke and I haven't looked in the direction of the fire yet this morning. Oh, our temps have been from 80 to 85 degrees this weekend and early part of the week. The kids went swimming at the home of a friend yesterday. We are enjoying the last days of summer, it won't last forever you know.