Monday, September 9, 2013

Favorite Things

When I am really stressed out or feeling like I am losing my identity, I have a few places that I can go to remember who I am and what I love. Somehow I think that what we love defines us in a positive way. Or perhaps it's inspiration. Last Thursday as I was killing time in Anchorage prior to my surgery the next day, I needed some inspiration. My best place for inspiration is the temple and we were headed there that evening but until then I needed something to fill in the hours. And the weather wouldn't allow for a walk or a hike. 

So, places include Ozarks Americana, Habitat, Summit Spice and Tea, Great Harvest Bread, The Quilt Tree, Picture This, Seams Like Home, New Sagaya, Barnes and Noble, House of Bread and the library.
And these things caught my eye! The bright colors and holiday themes seem to shock my brain back to reality and  away from other things. I made no purchases, it was all a mental exercise and it was fun! Now I'm ready to begin some fun projects!

New Rain Boots

Madeline and Lydia love the rain! And they especially love playing in the mud puddles as they form. Madeline had worn out her old rain boots and was testing out her brand new pink pair. They seem to be working just fine!
Dick and I drove down for the day to play with the girls and grab some Mexican food at Acapulco's. It was pretty tasty!
I love these little girls! They just get cuter and smarter every time we see them. And they say the funniest things as well!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pirates Plunder

This post is for Ethan, my favorite little pirate, and for my other bigger pirates too!

Down on the waterfront in Seattle is the coolest shop ever! It's called Pirates Plunder and it's a store devoted to pirates, magicians, and the circus! There are so many need toys, costumes, accessories, books, games, paper dolls, magic kits, and other paraphernalia associated it! There are also some vintage items that are cute and fun! I highly recommend it for birthdays or Christmas shopping. If you are very there, stop by. It's on the pier by the Ferris Well. You can miss it!

Happy 36th Anniversary

Usually Dick and I have a quiet anniversary on August 6. We normally are hosting out of town guests or in Utah or whtever, but this year we decided to do something we've never done before and we went to Seattle for five days!
It was so much fun!
So here is a quicky recap of our trip.

The sights: 
We walked all over the place, usually clocking anywhere from 5-7+ miles per day and it was great! The weather was beautiful every day! Monday was sightseeing, the market, and shopping. Tuesday's big event was a Mariners game.. Too bad they played like crap that day and Toronto wiped up the field with them. But the next day was better!
The food:
Dick started out each day with his usual workout at the hotel gym followed by the walk downtown to get his customary half dozen oysters! There were so many wonderful places to eat it was sinful. My highlight was lunch at Le Pichet, a quaint little hole in the wall French cafe. It was so sweet. 
The market, where you can find anything you want!
 The Pike Place Market is a world of it's own. My only purchases were a handmade bead bracelet, some mini doughnuts, loose herb tea, some spices, and this wonderful herbal medicinal ointment that is nothing short of miraculous for little aches and pains. Next time I will take a suitcase but this was the exploratory trip. 
The Dale Chihuly Glass Museum deserves a blog all it's own but with seminary starting next week this is all I can muster. It was beautiful. I wish I could've stayed longer but it was baseball day! Google it! There is also a beautiful gift shop there and an amazingly great little cafe where Dick and I had a little afternoon snack twice! The menu was very exciting. It's located right by the Space Needle at Seattle Center.
Other highlights were:
the waterfront
Pioneer Square, the oldest part of the city
lunch at Etta's
cookies from Dahlia bakery
dinner at Daily Grill
curry at the English Pub
meeting with friends from Texas
shopping, shopping, shopping!
wonderful weather and
spending five sweet days with my sweetheart!

Silver Salmon Derby in Seward, Alaska

Well, we didn't win the $50,000 tagged fish but we caught some huge silvers and had a great day on the water with friends!  We got a bit of a late start, but Dick and I caught seven beautiful fish and after it was all said and done and in the freezer we had over 30 pounds of nice fillets. So along with the halibut from earlier this summer and the reds we were able to net from the Kenai, we have fish for the winter!
While we were in Seattle we had a bowl of seafood gumbo at Emmet Watson's Oyster bar and it was more like a seafood stew than a gumbo - so we tried to replicate that for lunch yesterday and it turned out pretty tasty. But I think I need to go back to Emmet's and try another bowl!
It was basically:
a large can of fire-roasted tomatoes, pureed til slightly chunky  (we like Muir organic)
with enough broth to make a nice soup
small amount of cooked rice
onions, scallions, garlic, and maybe a little fennel
sweated in some olive oil until tender
two cans clams with juice
whatever seafood you have on hand! ( we used some shrimp, cubed raw fresh salmon, and some frozen mussels we had in the freezer)
crab and clams in the shell would be very good as well.
Simmer the soup will a nice consistency and add fish and simmer will done, about 5-8 minutes.
Season with fresh chopped tarragon, it's the secret ingredient, or dried if you don't have fresh, black pepper and we added a little cajun seasoning. Good Stuff!
Enjoy with some good bread!

PS - NO! we don't have a boat - that was just me taking my turn trying to maneuver around all the boats and not hit anyone while other people fished.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mike and Aubrey in Alaska

My Goodness! Every time I sit down to try and blog I feel like a need a tutorial! 
Updates are no fun! 
But Mike and Aubrey coming to Alaska to visit was fun!

We picked them up at the airport on Sunday July 28th and spent the night in Anchorage.  Monday morning they meet with friends from Fairbanks 
and had a fun breakfast and caught up on events.
We headed to Seward that afternoon and enjoyed a beautiful trip home along
 the Turnagain Arm past Girdwood and onto the Kenai peninsula.

Highlights were:
Grilling out with Dad 
Halibut Fishing in Cook Inlet with Dave
Dipnetting with the Kenai Harrells
Crab Dinner with parentals
Alaska Wildlife Center
Cioppino with Chef Mom
Hiking to Tonsina Point
Dinner at Double Musky
Church at the Seward Branch
and  because we love them so much
we met in the Seattle airport on Monday morning 
for breakfast before catching their flight home to Salt Lake. 

The time went by way too fast but we are glad they came! 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

While the kids were here we finally visited the AWCC.  We highly recommend it for anyone who hasn't been there! Most of the animals are are there because they were orphaned and some are part of programs to build the herd, like the bison. So the bison can breed in captivity because they are going to be released into the wild. And the deer, musk ox, etc. But I learned that it is illegal for moose to breed in captivity. Don't know why. Forgot to ask. These two little animals were my favorite!
The bison herd.
 Two of the grizzly bears. There is a male and two females. 
A very young moose. 
This adult moose was actually whining for attention.  
 The kids loved the moose.
A young musk ox.  
Caribou. There were quite a few and some babies.  
 The bison. Or buffalo as we call them. Lots of babies. A very ugly and dumb looking animal. Sorry to all my bison loving friends. 
 The bears were very eager to socialize. There is a creek that runs through the property from Bird Creek and the bears can actually do some fishing for themselves!

 This little guy was very friendly!
 More buffs. There was also black tailed deer, owls, a lynx, and eagle, black bear and maybe a few other small animals. They are in the process of building a bear viewing area which will be very nice when completed and allow visitors a much better views. Beats tying to jump up over your neighbor to see what's going on. Especially for kids. 
 I wonder what they will do when they are released into the wild???

Hanging With the GP's: Week 2

Week Two was a little more low key than week one. For starters, Grandma came down with a little cold and we realized if we didn't slow down the trip would be over before we knew it! So on Tuesday we make time for hanging out at the beach and relaxing a little. This is Lowell Point again. With snacks and chairs and shovels and plastic containers for shells and other treasures we were sure to find. 

 That evening Ethan and Grandpa took some man time to contemplate life from the end of a fishing pole. Not the fishes end. This is First Lake behind Dick's office in Seward.
On Thursdays Dick works in Anchorage so we stopped by the Wildlife Reserve near Portage on the way home. I've always wanted to stop here and it was a really nice place. Lots of animals. This herd is being bred in captivity but will be released into the wild in the near future. 
 Friday was more nice walks by the beach where the kids honed their rock skimming skills. We were kind of amazed at how good they were despite the crazy surf!
And Savannah made her famous rice krispie treats from memory! And they were wonderful!
 Another afternoon at the beach they waited for the tide to go out so they could climb up on this rock that was only accessible at low tide.
 The ritual sand burial. 
 It was quite warm in the sand.
 Where the tide goes in and out.
 During this week we had to focus on Savannah's quilt for new baby Stella! It was truly a labor of love. Savannah sewed all the triangles together and I helped with the blocks and rows. We were unable to finish because the weather was just too darn fabulous to keep us indoors enough, so we are going to finish quilting it when we get together this fall for Stella's arrival! Savannah is an amazing little seamstress.
 Friday night Grandpa and Savannah had a date to the movie theatre in Seward to see Turbo! Ethan and I hung out at home but joined then later for a fire on the beach near our apartment. Of course, no fire is complete without s'mores! Thanks Grandpa!
 Saturday morning hike to Exit Glacier, a family favorite. The weather was, of course, glorious!
 You can see the glacier in the background. 
 Go Cougars! Savvy got lots of comments from the other tourists on her sweatshirt! There is always a Utah contingency to be found in the summer time. 
 If rock skipping was a sport, Ethan would lead the pack.
 The fireweek this summer is just phenomenal!
On Saturday night there was a youth baptism in our little Seward branch and Ethan and Savannah and me and Dick attended and it was very sweet. The kids really enjoyed attending church meetings in our little branch and the other kids loved having them there. This week a few of the kids asked where they were and I had to regretfully inform them that they had returned home. 

On Sunday afternoon after church, we drove to Kenai to hang out with Dave and Valli and crew. Here is Lydia, pouring the tea. It's the latest craze at the Kenai Harrells!
 Cousins! Madeline is hard to capture on film but she is for sure here in spirit.
 On Monday we all went dipnetting on the world famous Kenai River.  Grandpa pulled in five beautiful red salmon that morning! Ethan and Savannah bonked them into submission and played along the shore. Grandma filleted.
 Tuesday morning was so lovely. We pulled over along the highway and took some photos of the kids in the fireweed. In a few hours they would be on their way home to Utah. But for now they were all ours!

Who wouldn't miss these little faces!
Till next time. Thanks for coming!     XXXXXXXOOOOOOOO

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Savannah and Ethan's Alaska Adventure: Week One

Savannah and Ethan came to Alaska to visit Grandma and Grandpa this summer! They arrived on Tuesday, July 9 and returned to Utah on Tuesday, July 23. We were so sad to see them go but we had such a great time while they were here. A few of the highlights of the first week were:          Flying to Alaska: sorry about the bad photo. Its the only one we got. 
Shortly after they arrived we all got settled into our little apartment we were staying in at Elmendorf AFB. It was great because we were able to watch the jets fly around!That afternoon we went to see "Monsters University" which was pretty good.
On Wednesday we did some shopping while Grandpa was working for a few hours. We stopped by Central Market, a fun Asian grocery store and found fun things like chop sticks and can coated fennel and other treats.
Had lunch with Grandpa at Pizza Man in Eagle River!  It's our favorite!

That afternoon we hiked (walked through my favorite neighborhood in Anchorage) to Westchester Lagoon and playground. The bike trail was closed for renovation so we went another way.

That evening, Savannah and I had a quick girl trip to the mall to visit the new Sephora store that recently opened and The Body Shop, Nordstrom, and some other must do's! There's just never enough time to shop!

Thursday morning we boarded the Coastal Explorer for Seward. We boarded bright and early at about 6:30 am. We rode in the special Gold Star cars with the glass top view so we could see everything so clearly. We took the train to Seward two years ago and loved it so much that we wanted to do it again. And it was just as much fun the second time! We love trains!

Breakfast on the train is a special treat! Yummy stuffed french toast, bacon, fruit and juice.
We ran into some friends from Anchorage who work for the train and they took tons of pictures of the kids! He writes for the Railroad magazine so maybe they will end up in a future issue!
If that wasn't enough for one day, we decided to hike out to to Tonsina Point that afternoon. It was the most beautiful day and the hike was wonderful.
The beach was a sweet treat! We just love our beaches. It was a very low tides and there were lots of families out there enjoying the sun and the sand.
 On Friday we boarded the Star of the Northwest for our Kenai Fjords Resurrection Bay tour.
Shortly after we headed out into the bay we saw a pod of 8 orca whales! It was quite a spectacular display. Fortunately, they were just swimming and diving and not attacking and eating anything. It was a wonderful sighting. we also saw humpback whales, Dall's porpoises, sea lions, otters, puffins and all kinds of birds, jellyfish, salmon, eagles, and some said they even saw a bear, but that was unconfirmed so it doesn't count. It was an amazing day to be on the water.

We opted to skip the on board Salmon and prime rib dinner because it's not very good! So after the trip we went to Christo's for yummy pizza and salad! A double date night with the kiddies!

On Saturday we went to the SeaLife Center. It's very different now than it was when I worked there over 10 years ago. There are a lot of new animals and displays and it's much more interactive. A big improvement! And here is Woody swimming by Savannah. He's over 1700 pounds now.

Outside the center is a statue of Balto, the famous dog.
Sunday morning was church and a walk around town. The weather was beautiful every day. We had Savannah's favorite salmon dinner that evening.

Monday morning was apple pancakes for the kids!
An afternoon walk with a stop by the ice cream stop!
And the candy store where Jenny worked summers as a teenager. Bags of saltwater taffy were the treat of the day!
That evening we walked to the beach in Seward and played around. It was a very low tide and the kids were checking out something on the beach they had erected the day before. It was still there. Ethan is standing on old pilings from the beach front that were destroyed in the 1964 earthquake.
So this sums up the first week of vacation. I will get busy on the second week asap! It was so great to have them come and visit and we miss them very much!