Monday, June 29, 2009

Denali, Alaska

Every summer we travel for soccer, several times. This past weekend we headed to Fairbanks, AK.

A few years ago we started making the trip in 2 days rather than 1. We love to spend the night in Denali (or just outside of it actually)and have a leisurely day there before heading the rest of the way into Fairbanks. This year was no exception.

We stayed at Carlo Creek this year in one of the cabins. It is a beautiful, peaceful little place and the staff is wonderfully kind. Also, the rates are fair so I don't feel as though I am getting gouged.

This year the cabin we stayed in had enough square footage for a double bed, and two twins. (0ne bed and one mattress on the floor.)

Cori was so happy having a bed to herself she didn't mind being the one on the floor. Scott took the other twin and Cassi, Cali and I had the double. It was cozy.

There was no bathroom but the (extremely nice and CLEAN) bathroom facilities were 10 steps from our front door.

This was the view from our front porch.

The morning after we arrived we were rested and ready to go. There are bench swings through out the place. Scott and I took a quick photo being silly, then we got on our way.

Cali remembered to bring Smappy along so we made sure to take their picture with the Denali sign.

Further down the road we cross a span bridge in Nanana and from it, we see this.

I love pictures of bridges. don't you?

We finally made it to Fairbanks and checked into the hotel. 5 minutes later- we were in the pool!

After swimming a while, we decided we deserved some dinner and walked around the corner the the local BBQ. It was very southern and yummy! Cali never did eat. Immediately after arriving, she looked like this!

Fortunately Daddy can multi-task and carried her on the walk back to the hotel.

It was a full trip and we had a ton of fun. Can't wait to head back next year.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

it begins with a color- Look Up

This weeks challenge at it begins with a color is Look Up.

We had a very long drive on Thursday so, I talked to Scott about these photo challenges I'd been determined to start trying. I explained that this week the challenge was to Look Up and all the while we were driving I was studying clouds and mountains, you name it.

So Friday morning when we were leaving the cabin we'd stayed in, I looked out in front of me at this darling (even littler) cabin with a lovely mountain behind it and decided to take a picture.

Scott saw me taking said pictures and commented how cool he thought the cabin was. I, thinking, "Huh, that's not like him to think something as simple as this little cabin is cool" turned and said "Yeah, I like it to".

Then he said " Isn't it crazy how that is growing there?" To which I now verbally said "HUH? What growing where?"

And he said, " The grass...growing UP there!!!"

And me, I said "OHHHH, yeah LOOK UP!" And we cracked up laughing. So, here is SCOTT'S contribution to it begins with a color weekly challenge.
*It's best if you click the photo.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Prince and the Pea

I was changing the bedding. When I found him here it reminded me of the storybook tale.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Solstice Fun

*Be sure to click on some of the pictures if you have time. These are good quality and they look so much better if you enlarge them to see some of the details. Especially the last one. :)

What a fabulous day!

We have new 'rule' 'round these parts. When it is someones birthday or special day, the celebrated person gets to call all the shots and they get to do decide the day's happenings. (Within reason, of course)

On Mother's day, Scott and the kids worked on the garden with me and did things around the house for me. So of course, with Father's day upon us it was Scott's day to choose the events of the day.

First, there were presents for Daddy from the girls. They worked very hard on these.
*A note pad for his truck with their beautiful mugs on it.
*They each painted a portion of this and it is now secured in a shadow box to hang on the wall.

Then we headed to the soccer fields. Scott wanted to play with the girls and work on placing some crosses in the net. Scott's friend Jack showed up to play a little. I got some great pictures of them that I will load up on snapfish. If you want to see the whole group, let me know and I will send you the link.
Here are some I really loved.
*Dad helping Cor stretch; Cassi has this down fairly well thanks to cheer!
*Look at that awesome form. Dad's still got it.
*The girl won't give him any slack.
*The girls were in awe of Dad getting this ball unstuck.
*Cassi had fun trying first; with a little help of course.

*She's got skills!
*So does she...just NOT soccer skills.
While Scott and the kids were playing Cali pulled me over to a dirt pile she found. She was climbing, then sliding down thoroughly enjoying herself. I gave it a try while she took pictures of me for a change. She really loved that!

After soccer. Scott headed over to play 18 holes of golf. He usually plays only 9 so this was a special treat. Grandpa and AJ played also and I hear it was a great time. While they were all golfing the big girls went to see the local theater camp's production of 'Contest at Cowlick' and Cali and I made dessert for the get-together we would have later at Grandpa's house.

The BBQ at Grandpa's didn't start until 6:30 but that was all right considering it was also summer solstice. I'm not sure the sun ever did go down last night. I tried to get pictures on the way home at 11:00 but it was raining. Our friends (actually more like family) the Norwood's came over also. It is harder to get together now, life just gets busier doesn't it, so it was really nice to have the 4 of them there with us. Some things just seem right.

We ate lots of food, horsed around a lot and ended the night making s'mores. I took a lot of pictures at Grandpa's too. Here are some more of my favorites.
*Grandpa is at home here. LOVE this photo!
*3 pretty girls.
*Kinda blurry but makes no difference when it's a picture of a boy with his mom! It's always good!

*Grandpa makes the BEST s'mores.
*However, Rocky was enjoying his well done treat quite a bit too!
*Grandpa telling stories.
*We've been taking these pictures for many years; this is by far one of the prettiest ones I've ever done. That is one good looking set of kids. Don't you agree?

And in parting with you today...I want to mention JOY. I talk a lot about expressing true happiness and I often notice people who don't express much joy in their lives. That is not to say I'm always joyful but I do often find joy in my life, in the simplest things. And if I am nothing, I am passionate about life. There are many things in my life I truly LOVE. My wish is that all of you find joy in your daily lives. And that you let your passion show. I hope that I share this with my own children; I think I do.

This is JOY!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

We love this guy SO much.

“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.” -Unknown

"The first man a little girl falls in love with is her Dad."
-- Author Unknown

I Love You Dad!

"Fathers are men who give daughters away to other men who aren't nearly good enough...
so they can have grandchildren who are smarter than anybody's."- Unknown

And to All the special father's in our life; Happy Father's Day to you too! Each of you are special to us and we love you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday - Thrift Store Treasures

We found these at the thrift store today, in a little ziplock baggie. Does anyone know what they are for?

Here is what we used them for.

Sometimes...It's all about the Ride

She's Blowing Bubbles

Friday, June 19, 2009

it begins with color

I have decided to try my hand at this weekly challenge. it begins with color offers a weekly (Mondays) challenge to photograph color with guidelines. I am excited to give it a try.

It is more to make myself see beyond what is right in front of me and more about taking time to notice the less obvious things around me.

This weeks challenge was to get as many colors into one frame as possible.
My submission...

I took this at the fish festival last weekend. I didn't know about the guidelines of the weeks challenge but when I read them I instantly remembered this picture and I think it works well.

You can check out other submissions here and maybe you will join me with your own view through the eye of the lens.

Try this!

If you have a far away friend or your preschooler does, consider picking up some visitor guides for your area and sending them on. I thought of this recently while getting a package ready to send out in the mail. After thinking about it, I decided I was quite clever. :)These will be great for cutting and making collages or goodness knows what other crafts can be made from some of the animal pictures and what not.

Cali made a little friend last year when we participated in a book swap. We kind of follow the little guy on his family's blog.

Recently we attended a weekend festival and Cali passed a booth selling books. In fact the author was selling them and signing them too. She remembered her little friend and told me to get him one of the books. I found it very sweet that she still thinks of him so I did. We included the visitor guides with his package. Hopefully he will have a fun little Alaska afternoon thanks to his far away friend Cali.

*I will send visitor guides to the first 5 people who would like them. So if you'd like some and think they'd be fun for your brood, comment to let me know and I will contact you to get an address for mailing. Then you can have a fun Alaska afternoon too! :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oops- Word of the Week

Monday has come and gone and I missed the whole thing.

Since you enjoy words... A peace offering.
I warn you, it is addictive.


A fast moving word game, no downloading! :)

Have fun!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Just Pray

Most of you are aware, Kelly's (my best in friend in the entire world) Mom is dying of cancer.

I can honestly say that now as the things she is going through are killing her, almost silently. I am sad and afraid.

I have learned so much following their struggle and realized I know so very little about the disease.

What breaks my heart the most is the never ending roller coaster ride they are on. Every day, I hear her; Kelly tries to get a handle on it. She knows where her mom's disease is at, she's got a grip on it, only to hear, see, discover some odd thing an hour later that makes it very clear, she will never have a handle on it. She will never know where each day will take her.

She is like a feather floating around on a breezy day, rising with the gusts then falling at the very moment the wind stops blowing, when one would hope the stillness would bring peace and comfort. With cancer there is no comfort, no peace of mind.

So I ask you, to just pray. Pray for Kelly, my friend who has been a pillar of strength, trying so hard to make the last days of her Mom's life the best they can be. Pray for Jana, that she know in the depths of her soul, where we can not be, that she is loved so very much. Pray for anyone you know who has or who has ever had cancer and even those you don't know, that each day they find some sense of the comfort, safety and peace of mind that eludes them during this fight of their life. Please just pray. Thanks.

Also, Kelly shared this with me today. You may need it to or maybe you know someone who does. It is national Cancer Survivor's Day and as she was leaving the hospital she received a scroll with these words.

What Cancer Cannot Do!
Cripple love,

shatter hope,

corrode faith,

destroy peace,

kill friendships,

suppress memories,

silence courage,

invade the soul,

steal internal life or

conquer the spirit.

No Words Necessary

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dandy Syrup

Did I mention I have a new fascination with dandelions?

Recently I read about Dandelion syrup at 5 orange potatoes. The last time I tried to make syrup I nearly burnt my house down. I wasn't real confident going into it but she made it look fairly easy and since I have penchant for trying new things, well what the heck, I went for it.

We have lots of dandelions in our yard and we live at the end of a road where there isn't much traffic. I was sure our dandelions were safe from exhaust and since we don't fertilize the yard we were in the clear there too.

I kind of guessed at the 250 dandelion heads and started right away. After bringing them to a boil I was a little concerned that I wasn't going to have enough water so I added about 1/2 cup before putting them in the fridge to steep.

The first batch I made I cooked too long and it turned out HARD. I salvaged it and learned a few things along the way. And since I spent the first day after I made it carrying it around along with a bag of spoons making everyone try it, the first batch is almost gone.

Yesterday we started on our second batch and decided we'd double it. Cassi helped me pick the dandelions.

We have pretty much depleted our yard but we have other spots in mind to get some.

The process is seriously simple. All you need is 4 cups water, 1 lemon, 2 pounds of sugar, and 250 dandelion heads.

The hardest part is waiting overnight for the flowers to steep.

Once they have steeped for 12 hours-ish you can squish all the water out of them.

Looking at it this way doesn't seem so appealing but I assure you the syrup is DANDY!
The water looked rather green to me prior to adding anything.

Once you bring it to a boil you have an hour or better (her recipe says 2 but it didn't seem to take me that long) of regular stirring. When you see the froth(not just the bubbles from boiling), you are probably done.

I canned mine as I want to give it away and I'd like it to last.

I have read a lot about the benefits of the dandelion and I do think I'll be trying the wine soon. If you make anything or know of recipes to share, I'd love to hear about them. After all, I've got this fascination to feed. :)