Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a year filled with peace, love and happiness.
We will be spending the evening watching the torch light parade, and fire works at the resort (just a few blocks walk).   Hundreds of folks skiing down the mountain with red torch lights.  So beautiful.  We have had such an amazing year, and I am just certain that this next year will be that and more.  Wishing you all the same.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


About 10 years ago my husband and I walked into a real estate office in Homer, Alaska for "fun".  We were teaching in the bush and spent the summer in Homer.  I said "Hey let's go to the real estate office and look at property for fun."  It was to be a game of sorts because we knew we could not afford land.

Two weeks later we were the proud owners of 9 acres.  We realized that fun was more fun than we thought because we could afford land.  Two years in the bush meant that we had saved enough money to get an affordable loan.
I call it our Ed McMann land because it is just so beautiful.  We got a great deal because we were the second purchasers.  It was one of the few parcels that was not slash from downed spruce that had been ravaged by the spruce bark beetle infestation.  We paid the land off in full about 3 years ago and this is where our yurt sits.

It is filled with wildflowers in the spring and summer.  Rose, lupine, wild arnica, angelica so many different species.  We evan have low bush blueberries!  Lots of plants to harvest.  The Sand Hill Cranes nest on the land, the moose browse on it, and there were brown bear sightings last year (did not like hearing that). 

We have decided to finally build on the land.  It is part of our retirement plan.  If we build it now, and rent it out (ouch someone else living in my dream) we can maybe have it paid off by the time we retire.  Big dreamy thoughts of possibilities occupying my brain.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Cold Chronicles

Sunday night we had a power outage.  It turned into a 11.5 hour power outage.  We spent the evening with candles and headlamps.  The little guy had a blast.  We burned a lot of wood, but managed to stay warm huddled around the stove.  My hubby slept downstairs to man the fire so that we could keep a little warmth in the home.  What a good guy.  We were lucky that the weather was "warm" a balmy 20℉, not the 0℉ it has been.

We have been walking a lot.  Our son does not nap well inside so we often take him out for a 2 hour stroller walk, which is great for keeping us in shape.  My husband is a little more excited than I am when the temperature is low.
He will actually jog in any temperature.  He came home the other day with an ice horn coming off of his beard.  Kind of like a reverse unicorn.  He was covered in ice from head to toe.  Me on the other hand, no running warm or cold.  I need to be well padded.  I often laugh because there is no femine feeling when you are wearing so many layers.
We ran into a young girl running her dogs down by the airport on our last walk.
There is nothing better than a clear day surrounded by mountains.  These are the days that I could never leave Alaska.  

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

It is -6℉.  Yesterday it was 0℉, and despite the cold it is just beautiful.  We have been busy, busy, busy creating, trying to stay warm, and socializing.

Perhaps it is the green smoothies I have been drinking for the past week, or being off work for 2 weeks, or this moose who has been finding comfort in our backyard, whatever it is I feel inspired.  
I hope you find inspiration in your holidays.
The mountains have been shining.  I will return next week.  Until then, Happy Holidays!!!!  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bring on the Daylight

As I mentioned before the Solstice is my favorite day because I know that we have turned the corner and are heading towards more light. Even though at first it only increases by minutes, each minute is a celebration.

Last night I went to a Burning Woman Lunar Eclipse Gathering at my neighbors.
My very artistic neighbor created this beauty of a woman. She waxed the legs (kind of funny), and wrapped her ankles in matches.
And when the lunar eclipse first came into view we lit her on fire.
It was perfect timing as my toes had started to turn into ice blocks.
We each put in 3 intentions, something to release, something to bring in , and something for the earth.  Such a magical way to celebrate the return of light and the beautiful moon.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Green Smoothies

When you live in a small house you just can't fit in too many appliances.  We were gifted a hand held blender about 10 years ago when we lived in a much, much smaller house (15X19), and we have used it to death.  We then bought a succession of inexpensive small choppers to make healthy homemade food for our son when he had his unrepaired cleft palate.  One by one they broke as cheap ($10) models do.

I have wanted to make green smoothies for my family for awhile now, but our hand held chopper left our smoothies with larger chunks.  My hubby was always gracious and swallowed (chewed) them down.  He also will eat my "backpacker" bread. Which is any bread that fails and becomes a hockey puck.  What a good guy.  I on the other hand just can not embrace a chunky smoothie.  Who can embrace that oxymoron?

So we welcome into our home a nused blender.  Nused being new to us, lovingly used by another.  My friend up the road just bought herself a Vitamix (green with envy) and so she brought us her Oster blender. Funny, first real blender at our ripe old age, but we are indeed thanful.

My friend also lent me the book The Green Smoothie Diet by Robyn Openshaw.  I need to carve out some time to read it, but the first chapter has gotten my attention.  Robyn is known as the  Green Smooties Girl and you can read her blog here.

The blender works way better than our hand held blender and breaks the ingredients down to a smaller chunk, but I have not reached smooth yet.  I have to strain the smaller chunks out of the little guy's smoothie or he rejects it.  So what he has is a healthy homemade veggie/fruit juice.  Todays smoothie included

Bok Choy
Red Cale
Apple Juice

Two thumbs from all three of us.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

This Moment

This moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. An idea from Soulmama.
Chop, chop, split, split, this moment and every moment.  It has been hovering around 0℉.  That is cold.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Moose and Trains

Yesterday there was a moose browsing on the willow trees in our yard.  Awhile later I heard a dog barking so I opened my front door and there he was.  He trudged out to the street once the dogs left him.  My neighbor was skiing down the road and called to me to call our other neighbor up the road because she was about to ski down the road towards the moose.  Kind of like whisper down the lane now isn't it.
Yeah the little guy is not so little anymore.
I set up his new train for him to wake up to this morning.  Oh so exciting!  December birthday's are challenging.  I like the idea of a 1 gift birthday.   I hope to always make this day special and to not have it blend into all the other holidays.
I do love this time of year.  I have to admit the Solstice is my favorite day of the year.  Welcoming back the sun can never come to soon for me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kazakhstan 101 continued

I am feeling so sentimental as my son approaches his 3rd birthday.  I have been going through old photos of our trip to his birthland and find myself thinking.... I want to go back.... right now.

Kazakhstan has amazing outdoor and indoor markets where you can buy just about anything.  This is where we would buy our nuts.  I know folks say watch what you eat when you travel, and we did.  We watched it go right in our mouth.  Aside from an inititial stomach flu, we survived and were healthy.  Compared to Alaska food was very inexpensive.
This is where we spent 3 months visiting our son.  We entered that door no less 100 times.  He first came to this baby house when he was 26 days old and stayed until he became our son at 19 months.
We took a 28 hour train ride to Southern Kazakshtan and went backcountry camping in Jabagely which is an amazing place.  Each train stop has local folks selling steaming hot meals.  And yes... we ate those too, straight from someone's house.  A no-no in the travelling books, but who can resist homemade dumplings?
We saw wild tulips which was one of my goals because Tulips actually originated in Kazakhstan not Holland.  They were so big and magical.
We ate lunch beside this wild apple tree in full bloom, and drank from the stream beside it, because as the book says Apples are From Kazakhstan.

We went backcountry camping in land where we only saw herdsman.  We saw a tornado form and felt a strange energy before it happened as if something were about to go wrong.  We ran from said tornado.

The people of Kazakhstan were so nice and inviting towards us.  Like this big man in a little car.  Jonathan and I found ourselves hitchhiking a lot.  Well, before we gained custody of our son anyway.
Kazakhstan has beautiful old structures like the Yasaui Mausoleum. The mausoleum was built in the 15 century by Temir.  He is somewhat of a cultural hero, but in the west he is looked at negatively more of an Attila the Hun.  There was a small mausoleum there for centuries that was a pilgrimage site for Sufi Muslims. It was neglected under the Soviets like most religious monuments, but after independence the Kazaks arranged a lot of international financing primarily from Turkey to fix it up.  While visiting the Mausoleum we were invited to attend a Surfi changing session.  We of course had to go, how could we miss an opportunity for such a cultural experience.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Completed Quilt #1, Kazakhstan 101

Oh joy, joy, joy!  I finished quilt #1 in time for Christmas.  It is going in the mail today sent with love.
I learned how to do the binding last night.  So glad I chose to do strip quilts for the first two quilts.  I hope to make major progress on my log cabin quilt over the holiday.

Last week we had an assessment for our toddler.  The woman assessing asked us, what are some things that are positive about him.  I started by saying, "His tempermant is perfect.  He is happy."  I then looked over at him and said..... "well really everything is wonderful about him."  My wonderful little man will be 3 next week.  In a little over a year he has learned so much, grown at least 2 years developmentally and continues to make me smile on a daily basis.

In honor of our son, who is just so amazing I am going to give you a tour of Kazakhstan, his country of birth, for the next few posts.

Kazakhstan is ranked as the ninth largest country in the world.  I find that to be incredible as we have had very few encounters with people who have any knowledge of this enormous country.  It is actually the world's largest landlocked country.  Kazakhstan declared itself and independent country on December 16, 1991.  It is said to be the home of the first domesticated horse, and thousands of year ago scientists say the first apple as we know them today appeared in the Tien Shen Mountains.

The Kazakhstan flag is fairly artistic.  The blue color stands for the "great sky" in which they lived under.  The center is a  a golden sun with 32 rays above a golden steppe eagle in flight. These two symbols stand for the freedom and high ideals of the Kazakh people.  Along the left edge is traditional Kazakh ornamentation.  Originally the edge design was in red, but it was switched to yellow so the flag would have only two colors.

The president of Kazakhstan is Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev.  Dmitrii loved looking at his president's picture in the baby house.  He would calm down when we would bring him up to it.  By the way, that hat, I called it the muffin man hat, was not our choice.  This was one of his outfits in the baby house.  He had lots of fun hats on during our months visiting him.

If this Kazkahstan 101 peaks your interest, I highly recommend the book Apples are From Kazakhstan.  Our library had it, yours might too.

If at any time you find yourself curious about adoption we have an adoption blog that is password protected that I would gladly share with you.  It tells of our time before, during (4 months in country) and a bit after.

To be continued.........

Thursday, December 2, 2010


This morning our homeschool group met at a families house to make healthy holiday treats to sell at a local bazaar.  Although I am the homeschool coordinator I was more of a student today.  The families in our group are very health aware.  The father of one of the families chose the recipes for the treats we made which were RAW and so super yummy.  Raw food is a new topic for me.  Our family eats healthy, but we do not focus on raw foods.  After tasting raw chocolate chip (not really chocolate chip) cookies cooked in the dehydrator and gluten free brownies I am hooked!!

It is 0 degrees.  That just seems wrong!!!