Spring Break season has begun in Austin. This means our friends and family lucky enough to peel themselves out from underneath layers of down, wool, and flannel are fleeing as fast as they can to make a reservation in our … Continue reading
March 1, 2014 – Sunny, 35°, Sunrise 8:00 am, Sunset 6:25 pm, Total Snowfall 53.4″
It’s the big weekend!
One of my absolute favorite things about living in Alaska is the Iditarod. The Iditarod is a 1,049 mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome. It starts on the first Saturday in March, and the winner typically arrives in Nome about 9 days later (the last team, or Red Lantern Winner may take as many as 30 days to reach Nome). Each team consists of 1 musher and up to 16 dogs; most mushers start with a team of 16, but as the race continues they “drop” dogs for various reasons. A team must finish with at least 5 dogs in harness. There are checkpoints along the route, but the musher is completely responsible for the care of themselves and the team.
The race has a ceremonial start, which takes place in Anchorage. They start right downtown (cleared snow from the winter is hauled in to line the streets) and run through the city to one of the parks on the south end. Then the teams pack up and head north to Willow for the re-start on Sunday.
Saturday is a big party in Anchorage. Tons of spectators, lots of commotion and lots of fun! We started the day by checking out the scene downtown. It is amazing to see the energy of the dogs before they get hooked up. They are barking and jumping, and want nothing more than to be pulling that sled! My brother and his girlfriend came for the weekend, and volunteered as dog handlers. They got to run with, and help get the teams to the start line.
We had been hyping the race all week, getting J prepared to take in the spectacle. M was wonderful and carried him in the pack, this way he was up high to see the action, and we didn’t have to navigate the stroller through the throngs of people. Also, the weather was beautiful! Blue sky and mid 30s, downright comfortable if you were in the sun! J helped us cheer “go doggies, go!”, panting and sticking his tongue out in imitation.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see my brother and his girlfriend actually run with a team, but they did get to help out two different groups, and seemed to enjoy themselves! Though the energy of the start is amazing, it’s not actually the best place to watch the teams because there are so many people. And you don’t get to see them run very far. We watched a few come through the chute, but then decide to head out to the trails and really get to see the teams do what they do best, run!
Watching the dogs out on the trails was much more family friendly, and more our speed. We got to see a long way down the airstrip and see multiple teams at a time. Watching the dogs run is a beautiful thing!
February 20, 2014 – Sunny, 23°, Sunrise 8:27 am, Sunset 6:01 pm, Total Snowfall 53.1″
The rest of the country probably does not feel the same, but I’m excited because we have fresh snow!! I appreciate Alaska being kind to us this first winter, and letting us ease into life here, but I was missing our winter wonderland. It’s been an odd winter, and we really had not had any significant new snow since Christmas. Happily, we’ve gotten 9″ this month. And it’s doubly good news with Fur Rondy and Iditarod just around the corner. For awhile there was talk of moving the Iditarod restart up to Fairbanks, for only the 2nd time in history, because of the lack of snow and trail conditions. They have decided to keep it here in Anchorage though.
But on to the real subject at hand…pancakes. Austin Mama posted her delicious Pretty in Pink pancakes (which we tried, loved, and J ate four of!), and threw out the idea of sharing our love of pancakes on here with a variety of recipes. However, another post of hers inspired me with a different take on this idea. I am sharing pancakes, but of the felt food variety.
Seeing Austin Mama’s adorable play kitchen got me thinking about how to encourage J’s love of being in the kitchen with us. He’s gotten really good at dumping and stirring, but obviously there’s limits to what we can have him help with. The sneak peek of her felt food pizza sent me searching Pinterest myself, and turns out, there’s a tutorial for just about any food you would want to replicate. Pancakes were an obvious first choice.
The process was pretty simple. First I cut out two beige circles, then two slightly smaller tan circles. I used a blanket stitch, and embroidery floss, to attach the tan circle on top of the beige circle, repeated with the other two pieces. Then I put a thin piece of batting between the two sides, and used a blanket stitch to close the edge. I couldn’t leave the pancakes plain, so there had to be some banana slices too, and a pat of butter for good measure! I’m please with my first attempt, and excited to add to the play pantry now.
J seems to be happy with the results too, and continues to cook up a storm for us!
I grew up going to a rodeo every year in Freedom, Oklahoma where my grandmother was raised, an old cattle raising tiny town in the panhandle of Oklahoma. There is a lot of nostalgia for me at a rodeo. Dusty … Continue reading
February 7, 2014 – Partly Cloudy, 30°, Sunrise 9:04 am, Sunset 5:25 pm, Total Snowfall 43.9″
When I was pregnant with J, we did not know if he was a boy or a girl. My big nesting project was to sew the bedding for the nursery. I wasn’t a big fan of the available gender neutral themes. I wanted something bright and colorful, and most of the gender neutral stuff seemed kind of bland. I discovered Eric Carle had a line of fabric, and designed the nursery around The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It was fun to dream who the little person, boy or girl, would be that would enjoy the bright prints and fun colors.
Now that Baby #2 is on the way, we still are holding out for the big surprise, so gender neutral is the name of the game again. I’m planning to take The Very Hungry Caterpillar bedding and move it to the baby’s room, which means I get to pick out new colors and fabrics for J.
I try not to go with “boy colors” all the time…but…J did inherit his Papa’s beautiful blue eyes, and has always looked so cute in shades of blue. Add in a love of all things that go vroom and move, and you end up with a blue, truck themed room.
I found the truck fabric first, to make the crib skirt. Then wanted to add some pattern with the window valance, hence the chevron. And finally some paint samples – deciding between the lighter shades. I don’t want to go too over the top with blue, but do want to add some punch and color to the room. With switching out the Hungry Caterpillar decor, the crib bumpers are no more. The plain white sheet looked a little sad, so it was fun to pick out a patterned sheet. No idea why that didn’t occurred to me when I was pregnant the first time, but it’s an easy way to add interest!
All the pictures that hung in his room before were Hungry Caterpillar themed, or colored, as well. Enter Pinterest…so many cute ideas for wall decor! I found a wall hanging I really liked, but it was $45, more than I wanted to spend. Hooray for DIY. A quick trip to Michael’s, $8 and a few hours later…
It has been fun to build a room around J’s interests. We’ve done the gender neutral room; now we have a little boy who loves trucks and cars, and it’s enjoyable to make his room reflect that personality and sense of self!
February 1, 2014 – Gray skies, 15°, Sunrise 9:19 am, Sunset 5:08 pm, Total snowfall 43.5″
Anchorage is a great place to eat local because for so long that was the only option. There are more chains now, and Olive Garden commercials aren’t a cruel tease anymore since they opened their doors in 2012, but really, the best food is found at the local establishments.
M and I recently snuck out for a date night and checked out Spenard Roadhouse. They describe themselves as “a restaurant and bar, serving contemporary comfort food in a casual, eclectic setting”. Two things that drew us (me) in for date night were: the bar selection, and Super Tots. Now it would seem as if a bar would not be a draw in my current state, but the Roadhouse bar menu features an extensive list of cocktails and quite a few non-alcoholic creations. As much as I like a crisp Diet Coke, it was really nice to be able to pick out a fun drink. I went with Mama’s Mint Garden: muddled mint, lemon, housemade berry preserves, and soda water. And Super Tots – tater tots with cheddar, bacon and green onions…yum! Pregnant me loves carbs – especially when topped with cheesy goodness!
It was a wonderful night! Full flavored veggies for M, fun fizzy drinks for me, and time just to talk and enjoy each other’s company! And now we have a new local hot spot to share with visitors.
Much like Anchorage Mama, I have been working on a little project in my home. I was waiting to finish it completely before I revealed it but I am just so excited about the progress so far, the light was … Continue reading
The original title for this blog was “Beet Quinoa Pancakes” but how many people would actually check that out? Anchorage Mama has mentioned her love of pancakes numerous times. Our family also shares this comforting breakfast, usually once a … Continue reading
It’s quiet here. The hot coffee, lazy dog and Iron and Wine are keeping me company. Quiet is good. Usually. It’s not good when you can’t find the toddler you are supposed to be watching. But this morning, that’s not my job. Mike … Continue reading
January 24, 2014 – Sunny, 45°, Sunrise 9:38 am, Sunset 4:46 pm, Total Snowfall 43.5″ (and it’s killing me to be inside!! But even though it’s warm and sunny, the top layer of everything is a sheet of ice. Not the safest thing for a pregnant mama, a 2.5 year old and a dog!)
Ironically, the rest of the country seems to be in a deep freeze, and here in Alaska we’re practically sweating (for January, anways). It’s been above freezing and highs close to 40° for the last week or so. Austin Mama posted a picture of their snowfall yesterday, and being the wife of a meteorologist that I am, I hopped on the NOAA page and checked our respective temperatures. Austin 32° and Anchorage 41°…never thought that would be the case in January!!
Not sure if it’s pregnancy nesting, New Year’s ambition or just what you do in the winter in Alaska, but I am all motivated to work on our home again. We had a big push in August when we first moved in. My parents and brother graciously came up to help us with some big projects.
Way back in August I documented part one, the deck, as shared here. I’ve been waiting for the cabinets and daybed to be finished before sharing, but I’m realizing that finished is a relative term.
The original idea was that with our little family hopefully growing from 3 to 4, and filling up all 3 bedrooms, we would still like a place for a visitors to stay. Our home is a split level, so we have a living space upstairs and downstairs. Downstairs has been designated the TV area and more of the hang out space. We would need additional seating, so a daybed could serve double duty as comfy seating and provide a comfy bed for our visitors. The previous owner had a lot of cabinetry in the garage for his tools, but we repurposed a few of them, and moved them indoors for additional storage (I’m realizing there is no such thing as too much storage!).
We started with a blank wall.
Added the cabinets and daybed frame, painted it white to lighten the space and unify the unit.
And finally added a mattress and some color.
Eventually we’d like to add a trundle under the daybed, so we can sleep two comfortably. We’ll hide the storage/trundle with either a bed skirt or false front cabinet. We’ve picked out the gray for the walls, Valspar Cinder Block; a “violet neutral” to help lighten up the downstairs, but also give it some life! And the overall color scheme of grays, yellows and purples is coming from this poster.