Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Just Because...Cupckes in a Jar

Cassi was having a little bit of a rough day a couple days ago. I needed to find something to appease her and help make her day better. 
I decided to have her make cupcakes.  She found some strawberry cake mix and went to town. Then I decided we'd put them in jars and give them to her soccer team to celebrate the last local game of the season. Every occasion is a wonderful reason for cupcakes, right?

Today we got the rest of the project finished. Tonight was supposed to be the last game.  (It was canceled but it's a cupcake night anyway!)

I had seen this idea around the internet many times. I found this website and she had the grand idea of making a butter cream icing from powdered sugar which was great because you can pretty much make it as thick or thin as you wish. I made our pourable which was perfect. We even added a few sprinkles on top just for fun.

We cut circles from this cute little soccer-monkey fabric, put a glue-dot on the lid, used a darling little stretchy. fringey, trim and tied that on. We stuck a spoon under the trim and viola, extra-special, extra-fun treats for the evening.

Monday, July 26, 2010

amongst friends #39

(Be sure to click on the photo. I will open in a larger view enabling you to better see what the photographer was truly capturing)

Well, we got through the week. I find it interesting that with the hardest theme we've had to date (in my opinion) we have the most people participating that we've ever had.

I started trying to figure this theme out early in the week. I knew I would struggle figuring out what to photograph and I thought other might as well. It seems everyone 'knew' what it was but with that came a lot of different expressions of it. Everyone took the definition differently and made it work they way they saw it. It took me a while to get to a place where I could see that ultimately that is what the challenge is about.

There is no right and wrong, simply an individual understanding of the definition and an individual  expression of it.

I'm relieved that next week's theme is YOU PICK, so I can offer ANY photograph I wish. I am guessing mine will be VERY simple. :)

I know some of you thought about abstract since I asked for help so often; did you take any pictures?  I'd love for you to join us. Next week will be  super simple week to join in. Consider it.

Until then, can you figure out the pictures this week and more importantly, do you think these pictures fit your definition of abstract?  I'd really love to know.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

We are doing the Dandelion thing again.

Last year you may remember I tried Dandelion syrup. It was really good; more stout than regular syrup like molasses.  I got mixed reactions to it. I really liked it, especially on biscuits. My kids didn't care for it as much. They would eat it every once in a while but not too often. Scott seemed to like it.

This year I decided to try a few new things. First, about a month ago I made Dandelion cookies. Again, I loved them but I think I may have used too many petals for my kids liking. When you bit into them there was often a petal sticking out and the kids said it seemed like the cookies were hairy. :)  We didn't make them a second time.

Yesterday I decided to try my hand at jelly. I am fascinated by dandelions and ever since I found out they are good for you I am always looking for a new way to use them.

I decided on this recipe although I looked over many via the internet. I am glad I chose this one. It is delicious.

Because I hoped by making them a part of the process they might enjoy the final product more, I asked the kids to pick the dandelions for me.  Of course Cali really enjoyed doing it but the other two, not as much.

Then Cori, Cali and I cut the petals off the flowers.  I let my petals soak overnight, mostly because I didn't have time to finish the process. I am guessing however that it gives the jelly a slightly stronger flavor.

I am not sure what I was thinking after I filled my jars but I flipped them over to help them seal. I don't think I tightened the lids enough and two of them started seeping out all over. No worries however because I would have opened one right away to taste and the other I will give to my Dad.

The recipe only made 5 half-pint jars and I am positive they will go quickly. I still have lots of dandelions in the yard but the weather has been rather crummy. I am hoping with all the rain the ones that are there won't go to POOF! and I'll be able to harvest them on the next sunny day.

I know most of you see the lowly dandelion as nothing more than a weed but you can research it yourself, there are many benefits. One being fending off depression, which I read as enhancing a sunny disposition. :)

Try them and you may find yourself just as fascinated as I am.

Friday, July 23, 2010

An Amazing Experience

I've told you about my new favorite beach, right? Well now I have a new reason to love it so.

I took the girls to walk the beach with me while Cori was away. I was feeling a little down and needed the distraction that the drive to Ninilchik would create for me. We didn't stay too long, Cassi and Cali weren't really into being there and it was overcast. Not a spectacular evening by any means although personally I love just about any evening on the beach. :)

While we were walking to the car I noticed a man and a young girl walking up ahead of me. Actually the were walking towards the water's edge with a 5 gallon bucket in hand. I watched as they dumped the bucket into the water realizing they were dumping their fish whammy.

All of a sudden I see a bald eagle flying to my right and sort of  over top of me. There was juvenile eagle following the adult. They landed right down where the fish guts were with a big group of seagulls.

I had my camera but I didn't have my telephoto lens so I just kept trying to slowly move a little closer and a little closer. I found a bit funny that I was a little scared. They look rather large once you are 8 feet away watching them use their big talons to rip bug chunks of Salmon apart. At one point a third one, another juvenile flew in. I still can't believe it all happened so close to me.

They kept a pretty good eye on me but didn't seem bothered that I was there. I was holding a big stick Cali wanted to take home and I kept thinking they might get the impression I was larger than I was if I held the stick so that it was higher taller my head. :)  Seriously, they are quite big!

I hope you enjoy the photos. I had an amazing time taking them. Cassi and Cali were right with me the whole time however I was a bit nervous and made them stay back a distance.  I am certain they would have tried to walk right up to them if I would have let them. Just another day in the life of an Alaskan child I guess.

Monday, July 19, 2010

amongst friends #38

Pink~ Leave a comment on which photo in the collage you like the best. :)

I'm  catching up a little finally. It's only Monday and I'm actually posting our photo collage instead of being Tuesday or Wednesday. That's progress right?!
I struggled a little this week although admittedly it may have been due losing my camera battery charger for a few days. I didn't care for the photo I ended up with however I figure sometimes life just happens that way. You take what you get and make the best of it.  
I REALLY love Kelly's photo this week. It makes perfect sense to me and seems so easy to have thought of, although go figure, it NEVER crossed my mind until I saw that cute picture.

So did you all take a PINK photo this week?  Did you think of something cool? Quit procrastinating and join in!

Next week our theme is ABSTRACT. Yeah I'm thinking I may have to create something to photograph. Hmmm.  After that we have, YOU PICK (This can be any picture you want), SQUARE, then PURPLE. So get your camera out, start thinking and join in.


Sandy- Her photo is pink button- Do you think it's vintage?

Jenny- Love this little photo. The kids loved it too. It got several votes for favorite photo. I believe Jenny found this on her daily walk. Certainly lucky to come across it during 'pink' week.

Christie- I found myself at the end of the week without a pink picture. It's been quite dismal here on this Alaskan peninsula for a while but it doesn't stop my children from playing in all that rain. Unfortunately they leave their stuff in the rain all the time. This is what I saw looking out my kitchen window in the middle of pouring down rain. I didn't go out to get them.

Jocelyn- I m guessing this was breakfast. :)

Kelly- Yes, she gets winner of the week. :) This is her fur baby- Shoogie. It was a very creative and cute idea and I was definitely jealous. :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blowing Bubbles- Fighting Cancer

I read about this Project of Love via a friend's blog. (or maybe it was facebook- something like that) 

I thought it was the perfect idea. My family (Scott's included) has had their fair share of experiences with cancer. And while many of them happened rather far away and therefore I was bit disconnected, or while I was rather young and again somewhat disconnected, I fully understand its impact now.

Last year I lost someone so dear to my heart to cancer.Throughout her battle with the disease, the harsh and devastating affects were felt throughout my being day after day. Once you are in a situation dealing with such a thing, it becomes very quickly clear how important it is to stay positive and focused on defeating the beast.

I remember very little about my Aunt having cancer years ago, I was young and naive about such things. What I do recall is a story she once mentioned about lying alone each night through her fight, imagining there was a pac-man inside her munching away all the little cancer cells. I made me smile then and I understand it so much more now.

When I read about the bubble blowing project (link above) and the imagery my friends Aunt was using, all I could think of was my Aunt so many years ago. My Aunt beat her cancer and I am so grateful. Others in my life have been less fortunate and while I am certain things happened as they were meant to, I wish I might have had this idea to offer some peaceful, youthful, happy, conquering, minds-eye fight to aid their counter-attack against such a dreadful disease.

When I read the post above, I almost immediately took the kids outside, explained what I thought they could handle absorbing about cancer and the importance of being able to visualize the removal of cancerous cells from one's body and how one could use bubbles to see it in their mind's-eye. 

The girls went at it with gusto. When I look at all the photos I took and imagined my little girls trying to battle something they could not possibly at this time of their young lives  fully understand I could only hope that if and when the day comes they need such knowledge they will remember this exercise and use it to help themselves or others. Love and positive energy are such powerful things, aren't they?

If you have the time, try it. And take some photos yourself. You never know when you might need such an experience to fall back on.  And what  wonderful lesson you'll be giving your kids in the process.

For those of you who read this blog and have battled your own cancer, be it you or with one you love, this post is for you.  Now go !POP! some bubbles.   :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

She said WHAT????

Cali went grocery shopping with me today.  We were shopping for snacks; it's her snack day at soccer.
When we got home I asked her to help me unload the groceries.  I handed her one bag and said "It's not too heavy." Then I handed her another at which time she replied "Mom, I'm not a shopping cart!"

I'm scared to send her to kindergarten. Any wagers on how long it takes to get the first phone call from the teacher??

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Missing Cori

Cori is away at soccer camp. It is killing us. The younger girls and I are missing her terribly. Cali even wore her soccer sweats today because they remind her of Cori.

Tonight, Cali wanted to write a poem for her. This is what she had to say.

I Love You Cori
You'll always be my sister
And I'll always love you

amongst friends #37


I like the pictures this week. I thought I might tell you the stories I know about them but then I figured you might want to try and figure it out for yourself first. so I guess I will update you next week.

Personally this has been a rather hard week for me. And my photo was a sort of culmination of the happenings of my week. It wasn't the picture I'd originally planned but once I took it i kept finding myself going back to it and thinking it's the one I should use for memories.

Next week the theme is PINK and I am guessing it will be easier than the last few weeks have been. I am looking forward to the free path of direction. I haven't really thought about what photo I will take. I guess I will see what comes my way.

Can you believe we've been at this for 36 weeks?  I can hardly believe it myself. I think we have a few more themes in the Que but I am guessing we are going to start thinking of some new things. Do you have any ideas?

If you do, feel free to pass them on to me. In the mean time get pink on your brain and see what photos you can come up with.  Until next week...

Jocelyn- From what I hear, Jocelyn danced her way through her youth. It was a true love. I've heard her mention a time or two her dreams that her baby girl will follow in her footsteps. :) When I look at this picture I imagine Jocelyn floating (that is what ballerin's do right) through a performance and it makes me smile.

Kelly- Made her own collage of photos that reminded her special of special moments of times gone by. I feel privileged to be a part of those special moments. So many of the pictures brought memories flooding back to me.

Jenny- This is a photo of her Momma who passed 8 years ago. She was simply beautiful and I only wish I could have known her. It is so evident where Jenny's own beauty comes from.

Sandy- This is a piece of crafted pie she made to go with a story of her youth. If I understand it right, her Aunt made a pie in Sandy's youth, that neither Sandy or her cousins were too fond of. One cousin told them to put pepper on it to make it taste better. I hear it didn't go so well. :)

Christie-This photo of Cori was the beginning of probably the roughest week I've had pertaining to my children since they were born. Cori left for a week to Idaho the night this was taken. She took this pillow with her and insisted she have her Barney pillow case on it. It's been around since she was very little and I had no idea it meant so much to her. It made me smile that she wanted it with her and I now may have to confiscate it to save and show my grandchildren someday.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Visiting with the Thompsons

We had such grand plans for the first day of our company's visit but alas, it started raining. It's been that sort of summer. Fortunately as Alaskans we don't let it get to us much, if we did we'd be in a world of hurtin' because summers can go that way around here. For our visitors though, we let them off the hook and didn't drag them to the campground on their first day.

Instead we ventured out for a late breakfast and then moseyed on to the Visitor's Center for the Sacred Space, Sacred Time exhibit focusing on the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church.  

After viewing and horsing around a bit through  the exhibit we made our way down to the church, nearby in old town Kenai. . Some of us- Cali, Cassi, and I,  walked in the rain. :)  On the way we stopped to take few photos in this old cabin that is barely still in one piece. 

There was a retired priest at the church giving a tour and providing delightful stories about himself and the church. He was a colorful character. I adored his stories and could easily spend more time listening to him tell of his earlier days.

He kept quizzing us and thank goodness Vicki knows her stuff; she got 4 for 4 answers correct.  

I love this photo of this cross he wears; I believe he received it for 50 years of priesthood.

The church was beautiful even in it's state of restoration. I can't wait to go back for a visit when it's all completed.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Living with the Thompson's

"The Thompson's are coming, the Thompson's are coming."  I heard it for weeks.  There's been a rustling in this house for a while; everyone is excited. Uncle Jimmy, Aunt Vicki, Andrew and Mandy were coming all the way from Virginia (near D.C) to visit.

And finally the day came.  They took a trip to Denali before heading our direction and it was anticipation torture, knowing they were in Alaska but not in Kenai yet.  When they drove down our road honking all the way everyone came-a-runnin'.  Cori was in the camper helping me, and she kept saying, "Can I go, Can I go?"

It was really great to see everyone. I was a bit afraid they'd be exhausted however I think they were mostly excited to be out of the darn car!  It's a long way from Denali, especially doing in 1 day, just a couple days after flying more than 12 hours to get here. I'm not sure any of them sat for at least an hour after arriving.

I did manage to get some dinner made that first night. Some Alaskan halibut. YUM!  It was really nice to have such a big family sitting around the table eating together. I grew up in a big family (to me) that gathered often (every Sunday) for family dinners and I miss it. It's my hope and dream that some day more of both mine and Scott's families choose the quiet, Alaska life and move here! That would be heaven to me.Seriously!

I will catch every one up on all that we managed to do while our family was here in the days to come but some of the nicest moments came in just being together.

All the kids would watch movies together every night. They synced iPods, shared favorite music, face-booked while sitting next to each other on the couch and LAUGHED, lots! On of of the last nights here the all the girls were sliding down the stairs in sleeping bags, giggling all the while. That's what I love the most.

I really wanted to share with them the Alaska that I love and I did. I wanted them to leave feeling like they saw some of this great country we live in but I completely get how nice it is just to have them here. (Hence the reason I'd love nothing more than to have everyone live here.)

My girls have been asking since they left, when they will return.  We hope it's very soon!

Monday, July 05, 2010

amongst friends #36


Wow, who knew you could give a theme that could entail such pleasant things and end up with all of these pictures.  :)

While I expected a flower or two I never expected the assortment that we have here.  Since I talk to Kelly often, I'd heard about her picture. What a way to make a dilemma work for you.  I kind of expected Frank to come through with the bathroom photo. LOL
I love the flower pictures and had one of my own but had a vision. Interestingly enough my vision was an antique perfume bottle with a sprayer but couldn't locate one. My campfire idea came about due to my daughter's idea to stand in the massive amounts of smoke from one the other night and then proceed to get in my car. PeeYoo!

Cori's idea was all her own and is so "Cori"!  But I'm glad she did. I think it was fun idea and is definitely associated with scent!
What about you? Did you have any ideas? Join us this week. The theme is MEMORIES.

Kelly found her way to this dead rat via his lovely scent. He was resting in her attic. Ewww!
I already told you about my stinky campfire kid and her getting in my car after bathing in the smoke while we were putting out the fire. My car still has wafting campfire smells.  Cori's sock picture came after a hard day's practice. Definitely a scent; enough said.

Sandy says, "The bush/tree is called Mock Orange Blossom and has a very wonderful scent. It is in my front garden."

And while Jenny didn't tell me anything about her flowers I wanted to mention how much I enjoyed the simpleness of having them in the mason jar. Looooove this!

Jocelyn, well, I am guessing we all can figure out those smells. Such a sweet girl for such a picture. Who knew?  Just kidding Jocelyn. Great picture!

Sunday, July 04, 2010



Thursday, July 01, 2010

amongst friends #35


Seriously, the theme of Family has turned out to be one of the hardest yet. Who would have thought that? I'd  been thinking about it for some time so I was pretty much ready to go. I am guessing what stumped people most was wondering if their picture should be and actual picture of the family or something more out-of-the-box. 

When I first glanced at some of the pictures I kind of shook my head however after looking at them since yesterday, I must admit they are growing on me.  Everyone thinks of, remembers, honors, and defines family in their own way and I find it kind of interesting the ways it was expressed here. And I especially like that I can put some faces to some people. :)

So did you consider what you might photograph for this theme? And if so, would you have gone a more traditional route or were you thinking on the edge of the theme as well?

Please whomever you are reading this, take this as a personal invite to join us. It is fun and while some themes are harder than others, that is kind of the purpose.  To stretch your creativity.

Consider yourself family, friends and neighbors and join in. After all, we are all amongst friends here aren't we?

The themes for the upcoming weeks are: ( and they definitely could be a challenge)

Scent (you only have a few days left since I posted this so late)