Friday, May 30, 2008

Airport Layovers::Kid Ideas

The worst part of traveling for a vacation has to be the time trapped in the airport with small children. I have never understood why they don't provide fold down beds instead of those rather uncomfortable chairs and why aren't there playgrounds in every airport(I do recall Denver having a small play place) for kids, after all you can get a haircut, pedicure and a massage, but when will these folks who design airports realize that about 3/4 of the population is traveling with little ones in tow? Oh, wait I remember playgrounds take up space and usually don't make I guess it's just left up to us parents to find inventive new ways to keep our wee ones entertained so here are a few ideas.

Well thank goodness for computers and DVD players, but OK really you can only leave them plugged in for so long and then they are done, thank goodness. Well, if you happen to be stuck at the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, they have a wonderful Native Museum just above the Starbucks that has a variety of terrific art work. We were even able to find a piece from Frank Miller, an artist from Teller that does fantastic scrimshaw on walrus tusks along with a variety of other crafts from all over Alaska.

Ben packed some of his Playmobil guys along with some knights and army men and the big windows seemed to make a perfect spot for him to set up a battle and get his daily requirement of vitamin D, oh but wait we were in Seattle so there wasn't much sun but terrific light was still streaming into his field of play.Being an experienced traveler I have learned that bring a combination of toys, books, or other fun object that the kids have never seen before helps to keep them busy. Jake and Ben both loved these maze books, Ben had the Treasure Hunt Mazes. Mom forgot to bring some tracing paper, but they didn't seem to mind. This KLUTZ book kept both daddy and son "tied" up for much of the 6 hour layover in Seattle. I think I will be getting another string book with more advanced techniques. This one seems to have gotten pretty good reviews.

Of course you can always have fun playing with your food, after all you have had little sleep, are stuck in a rather dull place, and desperately wish you could wiggle your nose and "POOF" be at your destination. Zoe and I tried that by the way, and she said that our magic had run out, but there was some fun to be had playing with her Woodkin dolls. You can change their magnetic heads and dress them up in different clothing. To me they are just like wooden paper dolls and they also come in a great little carrying case of their very own that has a handle....perfect for a three year old!

And what is a mama to do with all of her spare time while the kids are busy with their innovative new toys? Well you can always start balling a new yarn and cast on a new project and if that doesn't keep you busy there is alway shopping! I just happen to pick up a great new handmade bag from Queen Bee Creations. It was just too hard to resist.

Hopefully if you are traveling this summer you will have flights that leave on time, arrive on time, and have no layovers in between, but just in case that doesn't happen come prepared.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


May is always a busy month with the ending of school, graduations, getting ready for summer and planning for vacations, and summer camps. But during this busy month I found the time to finish some much neglected projects.

The first project was from Martha Stewart's Baby Special Issue, winter 2001. I think I was making this adorable book for Ben, who now happens to be five, almost six year old. It turned out great and we can't wait for the new baby in our lives, Blake (I watch him while his mommy finishes her graduate studies a couple of days a week) to enjoy it! My kids have loved taking the felted objects off the buttons and putting them back on if different locations. Who can resist a soft book?

To finish the book you just glue the pages together, glue a few small objects on the front, and blanket stitch down the binding! Now why didn't I finish this years ago?

The second project I finished up was a summer fairy for Zoe. The inspiration for this craft comes from this book. Jake was having a friend visit and I asked her in she was interested in doing a craft project, since her brother and Jake were jumping on the trampoline. She started her own fairy, which inspired me to finish up the one I had started in October. They are fun to make and about the right speed for an eight year old with previous sewing experience.

YES, YES, YES! The greenhouse is done! After a LONG day of working and planting, all of the flowers and veggies are in their proper place hopefully ready for the lengthy Alaska growing season. David added a nice fence around our garden beds so hopefully the moose won't be able to gobble down our plants this year!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gravel.... the Modern 15th Anniversary Gift?

Honey, I'm home....come and look what I got you for your anniversary gift!

That's right I got my husband a truck load of 3/4 inch gravel for our anniversary to fill the floor of our new greenhouse. We have been working on it for the past couple of nights and it is coming along quite nicely. I can't wait to transplant our starts into their new space!

Ok, so actually people say crystal, watches, or glass is the traditional and modern gifts for an anniversary, but I am sure that gravel is listed as the "practical gift". Yes, yes, I know the woman is the one who is suppose to get all upset when she doesn't get flowers and diamonds for her present, but well I guess I am just not that kind of girl. Almost every year David and I seem to forget our anniversary. Usually because it is the end of the school year and we are busy getting everything in order for summer vacation. I remember one year when we were living in Teller and I had gone to Unalakleet , our school district headquarters at the time, to do some work with our reading program . The conversation went like this.....

David: "Did you forget anything?"

Me: "No, I remembered to bring everything I needed."

David: "So you didn't forget anything?"

Me: (getting irritated thinking he is going crazy) "I have everything!"

David: "Maybe an important DATE?"

Me: (thinking oh S#*t) "Oh......was our anniversary today?"

David: "No it was two days ago, I was just making sure that you didn't remember and were just waiting to see when I would remember."

Me: (relieved) "Ugh, no I pretty much forgot too.....Happy Anniversary?"

So I guess you could say that we have a pretty special marriage, diamonds and pearls aside, we love one another and we're happy to celebrate our marriage to each other EVERY day and not just one day a year! I did pick up a yummy fruit tart to make the day memorable, and of course David the thoughtful got me a great card with a gift certificate to Memories and More, a local yarn and scrapbooking two vices in one store...what out! He also picked up some tasty white blueberry bark and a grizzly bear claw from Alaska Chocolate House ... chocolate ....he knows the way to a girls heart!
David and I were married in a simple ceremony in my home town of Ada, Oklahoma, at a restored library called the Ada Arts and Heritage Center. We went to Oklahoma City that evening and stayed a night at the Waterford Hotel where David picked birdseed from my hair as we ate strawberries and whipped cream, before jetting off to sunny.....well actually rainy Cancun Mexico.

Well, three kids, one dog, and countless adventures later I love him more than the day he laid this kiss on me. I can't wait to see what life is like with him 15 years from now!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Alaskan "Family" Visit

In Alaska some people come to work here for a few years just to add some adventure to their lives or experience new things. But there are those of us who just can't seem to get it out of their blood and end of staying here maybe for the outdoor life, unique exploits, or just the mystique that captures your spirit and won't let go and along the way you meet friends who become what we have come to call our Alaskan "Family", because they are more than just friends. Yes, the Hum's and Holt's came to call this weekend and a wonderful time was had by all.

There were MANY drinks served, mainly yummy mojito's, strawberry margarita's and a little too much Jack Daniels for Rich and Rick. On Saturday night to go along with the Thai meal that we decided to make in honor of Tiffany's very special 40th birthday (coming up in June) Tina whipped up some Thai coffee....tasty! The kids enjoyed jumping on the trampoline, watching some movies, playing with bubbles, dressing up as fairies(Zoe and Tina), and more jumping! They are probably going to sleep good for a week!

Tiffany brought ALL of the supplies to make tie-dye T-shirts and hankerchiefs. This was the highlight of my boys weekend they said Sunday night at the dinner table when we played High/Low(a great little dinner game that allows each family member to share their day, just tell your High for the day and your Low). Needless to say everyone's low was that our "family" had to go back home.

We can hardly wait for another visit this summer maybe next time we will head down to Talkeetna! There was also talk of a sea-kayak that would be exciting! For more about the visit you can check out Tiffany's blog.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day tribute

Mother's day is always a bittersweet time for me, since my mother passed away just three year ago, but my own children are a constant reminder of all of the things my mother taught me because we tend to pass those things onto our young ones without even knowing. So this blog entry is devoted my mother, who was a truly selfless person. An example: One afternoon while my mother and I were sitting together chatting in over stuffed leather recliners leafing through magazines and talking about the latest fall fashions, waiting for her to be injected with her "toxic cocktail"she began looking around the room and spied a young man probably in his 30's I would have guessed. She said, "Oh Stacy I can't imagine what that poor young man is going through, my heart aches for him." And I am thinking to myself, hello mom you are going through this too, remember not being able to taste your food, or brush your teeth because of the sores in your mouth, and having to wear scarves because your hair is all gone, you don't even have any eyebrows anymore, why not feel sorry for you, or us? She must have read my thoughts because she continued. "Yes, it is unfortunate that I am ill and this cancer is wretched, but I am older and have experienced many thing in my life," she said, but continued to speculate about the young person, "but he must hold down a job, care for his family, wonder of his outcome, and pretend he feels well for his small children." At that moment I knew my mother was the angel I had suspected her to be all along. So here is the short list of what she taught me:

*You can't have too many friends
*Never call boys
*Friends are fabulous, but family is forever
*Always tell the truth, even if it hurts at the time
*Shopping always makes you feel better
*ALWAYS ask to see the dessert menu first (and if you feel you might not be able to eat dessert put half of your meal in a to-go box and order it anyway!)
*Make the beds because you never know who's going to come over
*Lipstick is a MUST to carry in your purse (Merle Norman's Camio Shrimp was her favorite)
*A Dr. Pepper and a little snickers is a great snack, even better split with a friend!
*For special occasions always use the nice china and crystal(don't have either of these yet)
*All outfits must match right down to the shoes and purse
*If you can't say something nice, then just smile
*Take dinner, send a card, or do something special for people who aren't feeling well
*Love thy neighbor
*Always send thank-you notes that are hand written
*Give your time, that shows your love more than anything
*Do your job with great care and love
*Love your husband more each day, just like you did when you were young

Me, Mom, and Rebekah her first grandchild

Thank you for taking this journey with me. This list doesn't even begin to record all of the things my mother taught me, but they give you a general idea as to the kind of person she taught me to be. I wish you all a beautiful and happy Mother's Day.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Just in case you didn't know, May 5th-9th is teacher appreciation week! There are so many "teachers" in our lives and it is always nice to show how grateful we feel for all of their dedication. A quick card, a phone call, or a simple flower can express how much their time and efforts have meant to us. Don't forget to include all of the teachers who have made a difference in you life past or present!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Relaxing Knitting Retreat!!!

This weekend I packed up my bags, yarn, needles and headed to Mt. Aurora for a overnight retreat of the local Fairbanks Fiberistas, a group of Raverly. The original bunkhouse is located about 20 miles from town at the top of Cleary Summit. The views were beautiful and Brenda took great care of us preparing a spicy taco dinner Friday night, a huge breakfast on Saturday and a light salad lunch before we left. We will definitely be back for another opportunity to unwind on the soft couches, lounge on the deck, and snuggle in comfy beds.

Michelle brought her felting needles and I tried some needle felting. My fairy wasn't anything close to her polar bear, but I think I will have to take one of her classes next fall. She said my older kids would LOVE making felted Christmas balls out of this book and Zoe would be able to sit close to the sink with a pan and water-felt some colorful balls.

The group swapped yarn, shared baked goodies, talked endless about knitting and I even won a Fair Isle Sampler Hat for one of the door prizes! It was an fantastic way to unwind a learn more about my newest craft obsession. As I was getting ready to leave Monica was working on a stunning shawl for her mother with beads added in for an extra sparkle. She told me how she was going to wait until they were leaving to go to church and then she'd say something like, "Oh, wait I think you need this to make your outfit complete." I thought to myself as I was driving down the muddy road back to the main highway, tears welling in my eyes, I will never get to knit something for my my mother for Mother's day (she passed away in 2005 from complications due to breast cancer). It was a sad moment, but then I realized how much like her this whole jaunt had been. She always loved an opportunity to spend time in the company of a great group of ladies.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Do you Haiku?

When David and I graduated from college we had a fun and crazy group of friends that we hung out with in Norman, OK. There were always Dirty Santa Christmas parties, Halloween costume parties, Sunday night Star Trek and poker games, the annual Memorial Day floating of the Illinois River and parties for just about any other occasion we could think of or dream up.

So one of our friends, I think it was Jason Wells (AKA Franken for his very large Frankenstein shaped head) put together a group on Yahoo, called the Friends of the Attic, since the house we hung out at the most had a perfect little attic room. All of the "friends" are now scattered to the wind from Alaska to South Carolina and everywhere in between. So keeping in touch via email or the group home page seemed the sensible thing to do, and Friday Haiku is part of our continuing tradition to keep the group live! This is an amusing way to wish our friends an enjoyable weekend and to quickly tell them a bit about our lives with a creative 5-7-5 syllable poem.
Here are a few excerpts for your reading pleasure...... and if your are also feeling creative, leave your comment in haiku form!!!
June 14 this year
is going to be lots of fun
friends coming to town

Obert/Vergie wed
a trophy presentation
air show in Ada

come one come ye all
stay up until the moon falls
wake bake pancakes make
Tim-Ada, OK

one, two, three, four, five.
one, two, three, four, five, six, sev-
one, two, three, four, five.

when i am alone
i am a guitar hero
but only when drunk

gas prices go up
four bucks a gallon out west
go buy a good bike
Dave-Juneau, AK