Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chainsaw Play

Today my son and I watched my husband chainsaw some logs.  This led to a reinactment inside of our house.  I call this chainsaw play.  Don't look at all the little wood scraps on our rug.  I was away and have not vacuumed yet.  I swear it is not the norm (oh wait that is a lie).

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Help I have been swallowed by my work obligations.  Will be coming up for air tomorrow.  Heading to Fairbanks for an adventure in community based science projects.  Hope to have some cool resources to share.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Perfect Toy

I am in search of the perfect toy.  My vision of the perfect toy is a toy that is just right for my son developmentally.  This toy would require thought, with a bit of technicality to it, it would be non- motorized, but require muscle power to manipulate it.  It would be interesting enough to bring my son back again and again without calling him to it.  It would be a multi age toy requiring the strength of a 2.5 year old not an adult, the brain power of a 4 year old engineer, not an infant, and it would be a toy my son could play alone as he is curious or with another so he could communicate while playing.  Oh and add to that, not too flimsy and no loud noises, quiet noise is o.k.  Is that toy out there?  No! I attest to this because I have been searching for awhile now.

I am very dissapointed in the toys of this world.  I love natural toys, they are what I am drawn to, and would like my son to be surrounded by.  All hail the natural toy. I am with you on this one, but..... my son needs a little boost as do many other children of this world.  I have learned so much through the 1.5 years I have been with my incredible son.  I have learned I may have created a narrow view of what a perfect home/learning/developmental environment should be. Perfect is not real.

The thing is this world is not perfect.  All children do not develop the same, and some children need extra boosts to help them develop.  Some children, believe it or not, do not follow the "norm".  There is no norm.  So here it my new perfect.  Perfect is whatever my son needs to help him develop in a happy, healthy manner.  How he develops will direct my new perfect.

  I hate plastic, but thank you cookie monster pushy button thingy toy that helped my son graduate from occupational therapy when he came home from Kazakhstan.  Thank you really annoying Dora the Explorer pusshy button thing that my neighbor gave me because you helped my son learn what it means to take turns.  Thank you little plastic stacky cups that my sister gave me to take with me to Kazakshtan because you were my son's favorite toy, and organic lamb baby sorry, you are so perfect with your organic cloth and cute smile, you were tossed aside.
The little guy at his orphanage who learned to crawl from the enticement of these cups.

I would love any toy ideas that you all might have for us.  What is your perfect toy?  Natural, plastic (ick but the new perfect right!), whatever.  What has helped your child develop into the superhuman that they are today?  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Turnagain Arm

This is Turnagain Arm which is the body of water that our town is nestled against.  In order to get to Anchorage we drive the Seward Highway which runs along the arm.  The high tide in Turnagain arm can approach 40 feet.  We get some killer bore tides and the die hard surfers brave the cold water during these crazy tides. When the tide goes out you could technically walk for miles on the mud flats, however don't.  The mud on this Arm is crazy killer mud.  It is composed of glacial silt.  Literally parts of the mud flats will suck your foot in causing you to be stuck. Kind of like quick sand.   The fire house has special equipment in case this happens, but there have been a few cases of folks perishing due to not being able to be resuced and the tide coming in.  Come to Alaska anyway... just don't walk on mud flats that you are uninformed about.

Gosh what a strange post.  Apparently this snain (snow/rain) is causing me to be uninspired to find something creative to write so I need to stick to the facts.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sister Creativity

I have 3 creative sisters.  I love having creativity in my family.  It is inspiring.

My oldest sister is multitalented.
She is a  fused glass artist and sings with her husband in a folk duo called Andy and Denise.  They are so much fun to listen to and be around.

Iridized Fused Glass Serving Plate
I love these stars she creates.
Fused Glass Star Suncatcher - Red with Copper Wire

My second oldest sister is a photographer and stained glass artist.  You can see her work here and here.
Stained Glass Photography Blank Note Cards - set of 4
The photos blurred a bit when I transferred them.  These are note cards with photographs of her stained glass work on them.  I have been gifted these and they are beautiful.  She is a successful and talented stock photographer.

My youngest sister, well she is talented in both song and intention.  You can listen to her music here.  One of my favorite songs is Georgia Nights.  She also fights to save the wetlands of Wisconsin in her work life.

Three sisters, three inspirations.  Love them all!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This Much I Know

I am now wise.  It happened at 11:45am this morning.  Suddenly it all made sense.  I must pass on what I now know.

1) Always do your dishes first thing in the morning because if you don't have hot water and heat, your hands will get really cold.

2) Take a shower first thing in the morning.  Especially if you will be showing your face at work.  This is important because if you loose power you will choose no shower over a cold shower.

3) Your wood stove is your friend.  If it is 0℉ make sure you watch your fire until you have a good bed of coals.  If not you will spend all morning helping your fire limp along.

The enlightenment came  in the form of a power outage and a 0℉ temperature outside.  It occured to me that if I had not procrastinated the dishes, and shower, and had I manned the woodstove better my morning would have gone a lot smoother.  Power came on, probably just after I left the house to head to town for some warmth.

Hilight, taking out some stored food and cooking it over the woodstove for my toddler.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


It is cold.  So cold that my car grumbles when it starts.  So cold that any exposed hair quickly gets frosted.  I can really picture myself on a warm beach with a cool drink.
The only crafting around here is wood crafts, making kindling, and putting tiny screws in my son's boots so that he too can walk outside on our ice sheet of a road.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Green Smoothie Addiction

My green smoothie addiction contines.   I call it an addiction because I get through the day much better when I start with a green smoothie.   I am finding I have less sugar cravings, and really less desire to overeat in general.   I really want to drink the whole batch each day, but my husband always calls asking if there will be some for him when he gets home.   I try to save at least a cup for him each day.  More if I can stay away from the batch.

Today's smoothie:
2 cups water
1 cup carrot juice
1 bunch carrot tops
1 apple
1/2 cucumber
1 scoop concoction my husband makes with flax, wheat germ and who knows what else.  I must really trust him.

My usual smoothie schedule is a cup in the morning, then a cup in the afternoon.  I don't live off of them, and do eat meals as well, but just less meals like the chocolate bar meal, and ice cream meal are not as present.  I weighted myself just out of curiosity and I have lost a few pounds without increasing my exercise.  Not bad, and not really my goal, but a bonus none the less.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Loving Embroidery

I am sneaking in a minute here, 5 minutes there on my embroidery project.  I am making slow, steady progress.

This project, being so compact, has taken away the woe is me behind my small house lack of creative space.  Sure I still have 2 quilts that I want to spend time on, and a basket of knitting yet to be learned, and all my old jewelry making supplies under the bed, but that's all o.k.  I realized through this small project that allowing myself just 5 minutes of creative time is better than nothing, and sometimes is everything.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Art Exploraton

My little guy taught me a fun lesson which might be well known, but not in our house.  If you draw on a sliding glass door or window.
It wipes off with a wet sponge.
When I walked down the stairs and saw the artwork on our window I said "draw on paper", but then I recalled reading that a child drawing with marker on his belly is not the child being naughty, but the child learning about his body and about his world.  I have two people who sit on my shoulder, the parent, and the Early Childhood Educator.  At times they agree, and at times they disagree.  I am glad both sides came to terms with this fun activity.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Carrying Wood

Last night in the dark and cold I hauled wood.  It was perfect.  There is nothing more satisfying than ending your day with honest hard work.

So much of our life, about 9 months each year, revolves around our wood pile.  Our not so insulated house needs a boost each year by our wood stove.  This is an old photo as right now our woodpile is covered in snow.  This is just the beginning of what we burn each year, but for some reason I have many, many photos of our everychanging amount of wood.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Blog That No One Writes

Wouldn't it be funny if for just one day everyone in blog land wrote a real time what happened in their day blog post.

Here is what mine might look like.

Blog Post Finding the Positive:
My son gives the best hugs.  He is so loving and attached. I am so thankful.  He is a bit under the weather so we stayed inside and explored our environment, playing, singing, dancing.  We ate some home made yummy soup to help him heal and spent the day with lots of reading time with mommy.

Translation of what really happened:
Today my son stepped on his poopy diaper.  He also wiped his snotty nose all over the couch, my pants and my shirt.  I overlooked all of this because he gives the best hugs.  He is sick, kind of got the crud. We canceled his speech therapy appt so he wouldn't infect others, which worked out well since it is a 2hr drive round trip.  I read I am a Backhoe 1,000 times to my son.

I made soup with the wilted veggies in my fridge. No trip to town.   It was yummy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Easy Drawing Box

I received a new computer from work a few months ago.  I kept the box for some odd reason.  Really I kept it because I thought it would be fun for a homeschooler to make a project with.  The curse of a teacher, collect, collect......
It was headed out the door in our monthly purge when I realized that it was actually a perfect size to tuck a pice of copy paper in.  Voila a travelling, or not travelling art box.  It has everything that you need.  A built in handle for carying and placing in every possible spot to step on, and it self contains the runaway marker while drawing.  You can store the paper inside and the crayons/markers too.  All this for the price of free, well if your work supplies you with the computer anyway.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Creative Time

Creativity reduces stress.  A person can get lost in the process of creating.  When life gets hectic, I turn inward, but it is also a place that is not available when life gets hectic.  I managed to carve out some time over this holiday break to crack open my embroidery pattern book  Rainbow of Stitches.  I have been flipping through it for a few months now, and finally chose a project.

I came upstairs to clean out our bedroom/office and I accomplished my goal and got lost in an embroidery project.  It is the perfect small house project because the set up and take down is as simple as putting it in and out of a cloth bag.  While working on this project I realized it made me feel relaxed and happy.  I suppose that is why women (and men) are drawn to creative endeavors.  It is good medicine.

We had a visit today from a mamma and baby moose.  The baby, well yearling really, came right up to our deck. Mamma moose was in lala land eating our willows and did not come over to huff and puff when I took a photo.  Good mamma.
So cute!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Alaska Girl Must Have

As I mentioned before, being femine when it is cold can be difficult.  Put on long underwear, fleece pants, long undershirt, fleece shirt, puffy jacket, neck gator, hat, gloves, boots and you end up looking like the Michelin Man.  But wait... please welcome an Alaskan Girl's must have, which happened to be my Christmas gift from my husband.

The Skhoop Skirt is the answer to my problems.  Yes it is another layer, but it is an insulated skirt.  I have the long black "Original" which is nice and cozy.  I wore it up to the moutain last night and had to unzip the sides ( no worries I had on my thermals and fleece pants too).  So much fun.  It also comes in short and medium.  This is not a paid advertisement, but I am happy to give it a two thumbs up.