Growing up I think I had three days in the whole year I looked forward to the most. Christmas morning, because of course, my birthday, because, again, of course and the first Sunday of Advent. That was the day that … Continue reading
New home, new decorations. New friends, new blessings. New adventures, new traditions. This Thanksgiving weekend was new for us. Instead of piling into the car and driving to family, we went for a sunset hike, just the four of us. … Continue reading
Happiness and Cheer! Christmas comes to Texas too, y’all! We may not have the picturesque snowy-scapes like Anchorage Mama, but we are decking the halls and enjoying the merriment nonetheless. But along with all the happiness and cheer, things must … Continue reading
November 29, 2013 – Sunny, 4°, Sunrise 9:42 am, Sunset 3:54 pm, Snowfall to date: 11.2″
I’ve been “flirting” with Christmas for quite a few weeks now (our early Thanksgiving and foot of snow have been nudging me along), but on Tuesday we embraced it wholeheartedly. We went Christmas tree hunting!
When we lived in Oregon M talked about going into the woods and chopping down our own tree, but everywhere was a drive to get to, and with a 4 month old I was not that brave. The idea never really left us though. This year with a 2 year old, and some options closer to home, I felt a lot more brave. I got the paperwork and permits squared away, and on Tuesday we headed out on our quest.
It was a bit of an adventure finding the right spot. There were multiple locations that were acceptable for cutting trees, but locating said areas on the small map we printed off the computer turned out to be a bit of a challenge. Especially when not all the roads were labeled, and many not even plowed. After a couple of wrong turns though we found a spot; we must have looked rather odd, as we had a couple of people stop and ask if we were okay. It did feel strange to just hike from the road, straight into the woods with no real plan or trail. We had brought a sled to pull J (and the Christmas tree) in, but quickly realized that the Kelty was going to be the way to go. There was a lot of underbrush and the trees were quite close together. J was happy to be in the pack and loved ducking between, and knocking snow off, the trees with Papa!
When we first got into the woods, we started laughing. All the trees looked so sad and skinny! More like A Charlie Brown Christmas than White Christmas. But as we walked further in, we started to see the potential. I had brought a tape measure with us, because years past had taught me that trees look smaller outdoors, and way bigger when you get them home! Most of the trees were 10-15 feet, and so we kept asking each other, “how does the top look to you?”.
It was so fun to wander around and be out in the woods. It was in the 30s, snowing lightly and just a perfect day for a Christmas tree hunt. We actually debated not getting a tree, and coming back again because we were having so much fun. Knowing the way we work though (slowly), we would need time to decorate and enjoy, so we needed to get a tree that day! As is usually the case, the last tree we found turned out to be “our” tree.
M made quick work of cutting the tree down with the chainsaw, and J watched – totally enthralled. I’m very thankful for my strong hubby…he carried out our child, the tree and the chainsaw. I carried the extra boughs and held on to the dog’s leash.
The tree is now home, up and we’re enjoying it’s natural beauty. Hopefully we’ll add the lights this weekend!
Oktoberfest, you say?! Isn’t Thanksgiving tomorrow? Haven’t Christmas decorations been up in the stores for a month already? Yes, this is a long overdo post that I have had sitting around and forgot to finish. I got distracted by hiking and feeling blue. … Continue reading
Melancholy is usually the feeling I get around the first of the year, after hearing Au Lang Syne, after the Christmas tree starts to crisp up and brittle pine needles shed, when the thank yous and goodbyes have been said … Continue reading
November 20, 2013 – Sunny, 4°, Sunrise 9:20 am, Sunset 4:10 pm, Snowfall to date: 7.5″
When we moved back to Anchorage, one of the things we were most looking forward to was Thanksgiving. Being that Alaska is so far from everywhere most people make their holiday visits home over Christmas, rather than Thanksgiving. Still wanting to celebrate and have a house of full of fun and food makes Thanksgiving a perfect potluck occasion. M has to work on actual Thanksgiving day, as do most of our friends, so we picked a day that was open for everyone and invited them all over for a potluck Thanksgiving feast.
Taking a note from Austin Mama (who knows how to host a serious party!) we gave each guest a category of food to bring, but left the detail of the dish up to them. For example we had one guest bring “potatoes”, one guest bring ”vegetables”; this helped to ensure we didn’t end up with four sweet potato casseroles, but everyone still got to make something they were happy with. And we ended up with a feast! M and I took care of the turkey, gravy, dressing and cranberry sauce (I used this Cooking Light recipe, and it was amazing! I doubled the brine to accommodate our 14 pound turkey). We also had green bean casserole (homemade from scratch!), roasted potatoes, roasted zucchini, peas with prosciutto and honey whole-wheat rolls. For dessert we had two pumpkin pies, one apple pie, and one cranberry-pear pie, along with ice cream and homemade whip cream. One of our friends is a true wine connoisseur and he provided the wine for dinner. I believe it was four reds and four white, complete with the complementing stemware – amazing!
The table was beautiful, and just what we had been dreaming of!
It was wonderful to visit, and laugh and just enjoy good friends. We had eight adults and three kiddos total. The kids were wonderful, running around playing, definitely adding a certain level of excitement to the evening. We got sparkling cider for them to enjoy, and in the fun of the night forgot to water it down when we served them…they were quite energetic for the next hour! Though all parents got to enjoy the entire meal, sitting at the table!
After dinner we moved to the living room (with pie, of course) to play a few games. We call it Shenanigans, but I don’t think it has an official name. It’s like a mixture of Pictionary and Telephone, and most of us were in tears by the end of it! Finally at about 12:30 a.m. we wrapped things up (the kids had all been put to bed hours ago). It was a wonderful night!
And now that we’ve had Thanksgiving, I can officially start listening to Christmas music
I have been reminiscing a lot lately about what I was doing this time last year. It’s pretty fuzzy, to tell you the truth. Survival mode was the name of the game. Caroline and I were still treading through life … Continue reading
November 12, 2013 – Sunny, 17°, Sunrise 8:59 am, Sunset 4:28 pm
Winter is finally here. We were fairly sure, moving back to Alaska, that we would see snow…and lots of it. This year has been odd for weather, in a lot of ways, but our first measurable snowfall was later than normal. Finally though, the snow is here and we got a lovely 6 inches right off the bat! It started at about 2 pm on Sunday and was light, but steady all through the evening. When we woke up on Monday morning, winter wonderland! This is the Alaska I remember. Cold, bright blue sky, and blanketed in white.
Luckily M was off for the day, so we didn’t have to hurry anywhere, and could just enjoy pancakes and coffee while appreciating the snow from inside our warm house! After breakfast though, we decide to head out and give J his first real snow experience. We bundled up and ventured out to shovel the driveway. J is becoming more cautious and a little fearful of “danger”. If we tell him to be careful because something is slippery or to watch his step, he immediately wants to be picked up. Also, I think his boots feel strange because they’re so big and bulky, so he’s not sure of his footing either. It took a little coaxing, but he did get down and walk around a little bit.
He’s very anti-mitten, and will always tell me “no mittens” before we go outside for anything. This time though, it was a non negotiable. I think part of the problem is that with his little hands I can’t seem to get his thumb into the thumb hole, so he just ends up with club hands. Not exactly useful for trying to shovel or push or do anything. He did discover he could scoop the snow and throw it, even without the use of his thumbs. That was a fun game for about 10 minutes, and he looked adorable when little specks of snow stuck to his hair and nose! Papa also showed him how to knock the snow off the trees.
Caroline here, guest posting on my first blog. We have had a lot of people at our house lately. I like it. It just means more attention for me. But sometimes, it seems like the things we have been doing … Continue reading