October 5, 2015

When The Snow Falls

This event and pictures are now a week and a half old but even though a lot has happened I still wanted to share the fun.  You see snow has caused some problems for us the past week and a half but it is still a fun time too.  The first day of snow, real snow - the kind that sticks, we always make cookies.
 This year the kids picked cut out cookies so that we could make snowflakes and snowmen.
I dye me dough colors and thus remove any need for frosting.  We all went and played in the snow while the dough chilled.  Then the kids had fun decorating and eating their creations.  The winters are long but at least we can celebrate this feeling of snow being "new" once again.

October 2, 2015

How We Weathered The Storm

Earlier this week we had rain melting last week's snow storm.  This fresh rain then turned back to snow, a lot of snow.
 I took this picture Tuesday morning and sent it out to family.  A hint that winter had indeed arrived to Fairbanks, Alaska.  This was the last thing I did before our little world shut down for several days. 
 But as the snow kept falling, and falling, to reach record amounts for September we made the deck into our refrigerator.  Kids loved eating "snow milk," the milk with ice chunks as our outdoor fridge did a job a little too well at keeping things cool
 And I kept busy melting snow all day for water.  Thankful for a continuous supply of our white water but boy how it melts down to next to nothing.  14+ inches of fresh powder meant that our snow water was also mostly clean of the fall leaves and debris.
 And as much fun as cold cereal is, it does get old fast.  Dinners cooked on the wood stove are always a fun way to switch things up.
And when the power finally came back on there was joy.  Ethan and I ran to the different floors of the house to flush the toilets, we heard the water pressure tank kick on, I mixed up a basin of hot soapy water and washed out our empty fridge and freezer before they cooled back off again, put load of cloth diapers in the wash and put the kids right into a bath.  We weren't sure if we would loose power again sooner or later.  The heavy snow from this storm keeps knocking trees down almost as fast as the lines are being cleared by our great electric crews.  Thankfully as I write this the power is still on.  And now that we are on this side of the storm I am happy and thankful that we are safe, well and did ok through three days of flashlights and a different pace of life.  

September 29, 2015


A huge snowstorm has knocked out power everywhere in Fairbanks. I am sure when we are up and running again I will have plenty of snow pictures to share. But for now we are thankful for our wood stove and busy watching snow fall in record amounts.

The Perfect Fit

We don't live in a huge town but one that is big enough to support our local Children's museum.  Over the past 5 years we have watched it evolve from a museum without walls that moved around town for once a month play, to a temporary home two winters ago, to now our very own museum in a permanent building in town.
We love to visit children's museums in big cities where ever we go.  The kids are already talking about the one they want to visit when we travel next month.  But really when the day is done there is nothing I love more then our small museum right here in Fairbanks.  It fits all of us so well.  

So on this first week of winter I say we can do this.  With a place to run and play whenever we need, yes we can greet these winter months ahead with a little more of an authentic smile upon our faces.

September 28, 2015

Thoughts On Procrastination

I don't consider myself to be one that procrastinates all that much.  But there are times when things get put off, for good reason of course - humm.  Such as my garden.  Last Friday's post, written Thursday night, mentioned that I still needed to pull the brussel sprouts and tomato plants.  That I was waiting for that time for Josh to be home and I could do it quickly and easily.  Boy was I in for a lesson.
 You see, that post was written before this happened on Friday.  Sigh.  
 Now not only did I REALLY need to pull up the last of my plants but now I got to do it in the snow, with Josh still gone, and three kids.
 And if I thought Naomi didn't like me pulling plants when it was 40 and cool autumn weather, she really didn't like her first time in snow gear watching me work.
Lucky for me this kid, and Abigail, were in heaven with all of the snow.  With all of the yard clean up I have been doing the past two week all of their yard toys have been packed up and stored in the greenhouse before being buried.  Thus these kids have been slightly bored when I bring us outside.  Cover the world in snow and well everything is new once again.  Abigail isn't in this picture because maybe half way through ripping my tomato plants out I had had it with Naomi and I bribed Abigail to push her in the baby swing until I was done.  Best cookie I ever gave away!
Alas, my 2015 garden is REALLY all cleaned up now.  Thank goodness.  

September 25, 2015

Friday - Homestead Update

This friday update is the last of the season.  Our nighttime temperatures have steadily been way below freezing every night and the garden is done for the year.
But before that first deep freeze night I was able to get out in the garden with the kids and pick all I could.  Green tomatoes are slowly ripening in the kitchen and being put into this and that as the days go by.
The last of the carrots and beets were picked and are being stored in the cool arctic entry way for daily use.  Until the nights get SUPER cold we will have fresh veggies.  I never look forward to the day that we clean, chop and blanch the remaining ones before they freeze in our unheated entry.  

I wanted to end this blog post with a picture of my empty garden and greenhouse covered in fall leaves.  But sadly my small patch of brussel sprouts remains, as does the tomato plants in the greenhouse.  The kids don't love to be out in the cooler yard as I pull plants (Naomi was carried on my back in the ergo while I pulled all of the carrots and beets).  I have done as much as I could here and there but have waited a few days thinking Josh would be home for me to do the last of it on my own.  But work calls and he has been out of town.  I guess the kids are going to have to bundle up and help me out this weekend.  Moose have been coming through a lot recently.  I left the garden gate even open one night thinking they would eat down my brussel sprout stacks and save me some work but alas they thought the carrot tops in my compost bin was more interesting.  Oh well, regardless of having an empty garden pic or not, my Friday Homestead Updates are over for the 2015 season.  It was a good one for sure.

September 23, 2015

Winter Fit

Through out each year I gather winter gear from sales, hand-me-downs, and here or there and tuck them aside.  Then each fall the kids have their winter fit day.  That day where all of the coats, hats, gloves, snow pants, mittens, scarves, boots and wool socks are pulled out and fitted to each child.
 This is a day the kids love because it is all new to them again after the warm summer.  It is a day mama doesn't love because it is a reminder of the effort, sweat and patience it takes to wrestle three little kids into all of their gear each day for the next nine months.  (my hair was fixed that day by Abigail.  What a budding hair dresser she is.  Her motto is the more bling and color the better).
And while I worked on the next child, Abigail took her new snowsuit out to give it a try.  Keeping her warm on these cooler fall days is a challenge by itself and she gives her new winter gear a big thumbs up.  Ethan on the other hand spent 2 hours outside at 40 degrees in sweatpants, mud boots and a t-shirt.  After a hour I convinced him to at least put on gloves.  To each their own.  But come winter these kids are outfitted and ready for another season of cold ahead.

September 22, 2015

Story Hour

I have learned as a mom that when we are having hard behavior days the best solution is to stay home.  Sometimes the "staying home to get this right" solution lasts several days.  Last week was one of those weeks.  Days where I had things planned but I had to tell the kids if they couldn't listen to me at home then I couldn't trust them to listen to me in town.  

One of the main things we kept missing was story hour.  We all love story hour at the library so this was hard.  
 So on Tuesday we had an at home story hour.  All of the kids baby dolls and favorite animals were invited to come along.  The kids had so much fun setting up for this special occasion.
 Ethan and Abigail each picked some favorite stories for me to read, and I was even given a chair up front to read from.
 After stories Abigail asked me what craft they could do since our wonderful librarians usually have something small for them to put together.  I looked at her and racked my brain (hardest part of crafting is the idea) and promised when Naomi took her nap we would make something together.  Lucky for them I was feeling adventurous and cracked out the paint.  We don't often paint at home as much as we do other things.  I often leave that to Mooseketeers or the Children's museum but, as I stated earlier, I was feeing brave.  Since we had read one train story and two princess stories I decided to go with a train craft.
Some paint, toilet paper rolls, and spare egg cartons.  We all had so much fun.  And when we finally did get back to our library for story hour later that week Abigail was sure to tell our librarians that her story hour was at home, and she had SO MUCH fun.  You know, on days where behavior is bad I am reminded they just need a little more of me.

September 21, 2015

Fall 2015

On the calendar today is the first day of fall.  But really, fall is such a quick season here in Alaska.  Two weeks or so is all we really get and already it is running out.
 But what a glorious time it is.  No bugs, bright colors, and when it decides to stop raining, cool temps to play in that aren't yet freezing.
But of all the fall activities the kids love, leaf jumping is their favorite.
Winter will come soon but today we enjoy today.  Happy Fall and Equinox.  

September 18, 2015

Friday - Homestead Update

I am excited to report that this week's homestead update is given back to the bees.  The days of the bee hives, bee stings and protective coats are over but the days of honey have arrived.
 My neighbor and I spent time this week spinning our honey.  A process that involves balance and patience to try and get four frames to sit right for spinning out all of the honey out of the comb.  That honey is then drained out of the spinner and through cheese cloth to catch the extra wax and undesirables.  
 From that first bucket our honey strained once more to be extra careful.  I mostly worked without the kids but Abigail worked her way over to my neighbor's garage with me and was more then happy to spend the time watching mama work and licking up all of the drops of honey and little bits she could find.  What sweet goodness it is.
And after a few days that sweet gold was divided up.  How rich I felt to came home with jars full of my own honey to give to my family.
After watching this whole process, from building boxes last spring to the honey this fall, I can say that where the honey in my pantry is wonderful the knowledge is even better.  How thankful I am for my neighbor, his wisdom, experience, failures and successes that I have learned from.  I do see our very own Klynstra hive in this family's future for sure.

September 17, 2015

There And Back

There was a lot involved it our little trip to Homer.
 For one there was Ethan and Abigail.  Lucky for them their grammie lives a hour and a half north of Homer.  They spent 2 1/2 days being loved.  They did great, except when they didn't.  This little visit was the longest I have ever been away from them.  That hurt at times, them - me - and Grammie.  But in the end the feelings passed and they had a great time.  An when I did show up at the end they were more excited about seeing Aunt Hillary then me anyway.  
 The other small challenge about our Homer trip was the getting there and back again.  Alaska is a beautiful place but it is also a big place.  Homer is just shy of 600 miles south of Fairbanks.  The kids and I took the drive to Anchorage solo one night and picked Hillary up from the airport there at 2am where she was resting from her long flight up from NJ.  We rolled into Soldotna at 5:30am, just 10 hours after we had left, and it was so wonderful to see Josh's mom and to fall asleep for a couple of hours knowing she was watching out for the kids.
 The trip home we did a little differently.  Mainly we did it in the daylight.  We started Sunday morning having a little birthday celebration for Ethan before hitting the road north.
And as road trips with kids go, there was a lot of need for getting out of the truck and running, biking, jumping and fun before being strapped back into car seats for the next hundred miles or so.
But with Hillary in the truck with me, daylight to shine on the road, and kids who really did pretty great for doing over a thousand miles in four days, the hours weren't that long.
 We did our best to wear these kids out but Naomi and Ethan only napped a hour and a half and Abigail not at all.  But Hillary brought a batch of new music, laughter, hours of conversation and just three rules for the kids - No crying, no fighting and no whining 
Yes, sister trips are worth the miles and the planning efforts.  Sister trips (with kids for extra company) are wonderful.

September 16, 2015

Homer 2015

I have lived in Alaska over 12 years now.  In those 12 years my sister has seen a lot of Fairbanks when she visits and not much else.  So this time she flew up north I met her at the airport and we headed south to Homer, one of my most favorite places ever.
 We stayed at an amazing B&B where the Homer spit was seen out the deck
 And the local wildlife was seen from the front door.
 In the 3 days we were there the clouds never lifted so Hillary never got a glimpse at the amazing view there is to offer but she did see a lot of other things.
  We took time to walk all of the beaches
And even though the distant view wasn't too clear she was able to enjoy the up close and personal parts of the fresh water meets salt water views of the beaches of Katchemak Bay
 As well as the fun and interesting things you must do in order to get to these great beaches.
 And in addition to all the gift shops, art galleries, and restaurants I showed her my favorite glass house on the edge of bishop's beach.  Oh how I would love to live there some day. 
 We had an amazing time, just to sisters - and a baby.  Abigail and Ethan stayed with Grammie in Soldotna, Alaska but Naomi came with us.  When having multiple children it is so fun to have little bits of time where each child can be singled out and given the attention of a single baby.  Amazing how little this girl fussed for three days of a mother and aunt's attention.
Yes, our Homer/sister trip of 2015 is one for the books.  Such laughs, so relaxing, lots of talking, and dreams of the next sister trip to come.