Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2014 Valentine's Day

 A few photos that we snapped for Valentine's Day this year just had to be shared!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

2014 Easter

Our Easter was very sweet this year! How wonderful to celebrate our Risen Savior with family!
The children are blessed BIG TIME to be in a Bible Class at church with a 
dedicated and loving teacher, Mrs Celeste.  
She is unfailingly kind to the children and teaches them about 
God {so big, so strong & so mighty} and 
His creation in such an age appropriate way.  
Quentin and Ruby *LOVE*  Bible Class as well
as their friends that attend with them every week.  
We praise God for our church family.
I also feel fortunate to serve as the teacher-aide in 
the 2 year old class and always learn something myself.
 These Buster Brown shoes that Quinn is sporting on Easter were once his Father's.  Aaaahhh...
Nana gave Ruby her gold cross necklace.
The twins love each other and love {to pat} their Bibles.
We pray that their love of God's Word will continue to grow throughout their lives!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Toddler Two

During this stage in our lives, our days are primarily spent at home.
Our two toddlers enjoy playing with one another and are learning to work as a team.
Sharing & taking turns are lessons we are constantly practicing
Our days are filled with books, "swan dives" off the couch, tools, dolls, 
and occasionally we get to enjoy warm sun streaming in through the window. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Muppets Party

Cliff and the twins had their birthday today!
We've all enjoyed watching the classic old Muppet Show episodes lately,
so we decided to have a party featuring the Muppets,
with special attention given to "KERMIE!"
Cliff has been teaching the kids to make a cheesy smile.
It cracks us up!
Auntie Jenn made a Rainbow Connection Fruit Tray and surprised us with 
vintage sheet music for our mantle display as well!
The balloons were a big hit with the sweeties.
Cliff went to SeaMart to have a bouquet of balloons made and helium filled 
(we ordered the mylar Muppets balloon online)
and after he placed his order and then went on to pick up a few odds and ends,
he came back to pay for the balloons only to find out that
 the kind young man that filled them for us had payed for them.
We didn't even know him.
Isn't that neat?
God blesses us at every turn.
The guests of honor wore kermit collars this year. 
Why not? 
I had a little too much fun turning these 3 thrifted silver platters into a 
tiered cupcake stand during nap time.  
I used hot glue to adhere the platters to the candlesticks. 
It held up well while in place and popped apart easily for clean-up after the party was over.
I made the jumbo sized chocolate cupcakes with creme de menthe frosting at Cliff's request.
Quinn was all about the cake!
We all laughed along with him all evening.
Ruby, on the other hand, kept a pretty tidy tray and we could 
tell that she was uncomfortable as she kept looking around and saying, "a mess."
One time I saw her look at Quinn's tray of cake crumbs and whisper, "a time out."
She has a very dear conscience which is something we are thankful for.
We pray that she will always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in her.

Biscuits and Gravy was Cliff's meal of choice!
Ruby had to take a short break after opening the legos to lay down a drum beat for us.

The candle scared Ruby at first and we all felt for her!
She held her face in her hands and her cheeks turned red.
She is so darling.
We should have practiced ahead of time 
(as was recommended to us!)
but with our small family party, she was really surrounded by loved ones that sympathized.
We ended up lighting the candles multiple times
and she got the hang of it and eventually loved it!
Cousin Jessica had fun reading and playing with the kids.
Quinn blew out his candles and enjoyed it very much.
He did more playing with his cake than eating it.
He was so enthusiastic throughout the evening and is such a joy!
God has so blessed him with a playful heart.
There was always lots of cheering after the candles were blown out!
Uncle Jack made the kids' favorite Green "Smoonies" with his new Vitamix and we all loved them!
No party is complete without chocolate!
In honor of Cliff we had a chocolate dipping station.
Chocolate dipped Bacon was fantastic!
We also made yummy chocolate dipped Earl Gray Tea cookies.
I am so thankful for these three members of my family that all share the same birthday!
And thankful for those who celebrated with us both near and far.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Valentine Bears

We went to the Fortress of the Bear on Valentines Day!

 The Fortress of the Bear is a 10-15 minute drive from our house.  
I really should have taken some photos on the drive out there, 
Silver Bay is on one side and there are sheer rock faces on the other side.
It is breathtaking.
 The Fortress of the Bear accepts abandoned bear cubs and cares for
them until they are suitable for placement in a zoo.
 There were 3 bears in one arena and 2 bears in another.  
Our favorite was named Baloo, which Cliff loved, since the Jungle Book is one of his favorite movies.
 The kids and I were thrilled to see that Baloo could sign "more" and "all done" 
to his Bear Keeper just like we do at home!
 There were 3 teensy bear cubs that we had the unique privilege to see up close! 
We fed them apple wedges through the fence and marveled at the length of their 
claws that were longer than our fingers. 
 They have several other animals on-site including this huge pig, which the 
kids were fascinated by as they kept yelling "PIGGY!!" 
(I think they were scanning the surrounding area for Kermit.)
The turkeys and sled dogs were also beautiful and we got to see several eagles that were hanging around during the feeding of the bears as well!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Frozen Fun

We live a block and a half from a great lake for skating, when the weather is right.
The weather is not often just right, but this week has been perfect.
On Saturday night Joanna & Jessica spent the night and we all 
walked down to the lake and pulled the twins around in a big red bucket we have.
We tied the dog leash to the handles and laughed and ran and ran and twirled
until we had worn ourselves silly.
I had oh so much fun shooting into the bright lights onto the dark lake
catching flare here and there as well as bright contrasty colors.
The moon.
Oh, the moon.
The kids can't get enough of the stars and moon these days.
They are always looking to the heavens.
We had the great fortune recently to have a private showing at a 
traveling planetarium exhibit that was in town last month
that my brother, Jack, was the curator for and ever since then,
the kids pretty much lose it every. time. they see the moon.
I'm catching the fever.
I yelped when I found Orion's belt in one of the photos below!
Cliff's always had the astronomy bug.
He had me bundled up staring into the sky in the back yard with him
on Friday night late after the kids were asleep when he 
had been out walking Rosie and he rushed in to
tell me that the Aurora Borealis putting on a show!
Cliff was tireless the other night running laps with the kids.
We popped corn when we got home which was 
a fun treat as well and is becoming a little tradition.
Its sweet to make traditions with our little family.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Last Laugh

Yesterday, a dear friend of ours came over with her children for a short visit here at our house.
She has a girl the twins' age and a six year old boy as well. 

 Ruby and the little girl, had fun looking at books and jumping on the bed together,
but her big brother was more awesome than Quinn could fathom. 
Cliff and I tried to play interference but he was a seasoned wrestler and Quinn was 
thwarted at every turn, playing victim to all manner of six year old atrocities.

Before our visit, I had given Quinn a graham cracker that was 
completely slathered in peanut butter, 
not knowing that our friends' little boy had a peanut allergy. 
Near the end of the play date, our friend sent her son out to wait for her in the car.
In a couple of minutes, he came back in saying, "mommy, my eyes are itching" 
as he closed the door, he glanced back at Quinn with one last incriminating look, declaring, 
"and his mouth smelled like peanut butter!"

Cliff responded by saying, "Maybe you're allergic to Mr. Quinn."

 As we imagined our [truly very sweet] 6 year old friend riding home
itching his little eyes we couldn't help but think that
Quinn got the last laugh with his super powered peanut butter mouth!

*No friends were harmed in the writing of this blogpost.  
Benadryl and an ice-cream cone, it has been reported, quickly took care of the itchy eyes.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mendenhall Glacier

We loved visiting the Mendenhall Glacier while we were in Juneau!  
This is an awesome panorama of the glacier as well as Nugget Falls, 
and the icebergs floating in Mendenhall Lake if you can zoom in on it! 
 The weather was perfect for playing on the beach so we just took it easy and let the kids play and play.  

The water was too cold for them to want to be in the water for too long which 
made our job [of keeping them alive] much more simple.  

We decided to give up on our job of keeping them clean and so we all just had a lovely day together!  
Quinn eating sand at Glacier Beach ... Don't knock it til you try it!
(Can you spot sister in the background?)

I laughed when I was cleaning out the stroller and found that Cliff had 
escaped with a few rocks, yep, he's Rene's son alright.

Friday, September 6, 2013

2013 Locavore Lessons

Lesson #1: Living Local [In Sitka] is not possible without friends.  This is a part of the way God designed us to live in community and relying on friends, both old and new, played into my locavore journey substantially!
The twins and I spent one morning picking huckleberries at Totem Park which was really fun.  While we were there, our friends, Mallory & Nancy came along and they picked and hiked along with us for more than an hour, not keeping any of the harvest for themselves!  Nancy also pointed out some "chicken of the woods" growing on a tree that is pictured in the bottom right quadrant. 

At one point on the walk home I was just so hungry that the twins and I stopped and ate all of our berries right there!  They tasted soo good but I was sad that I didn't save ANY for the next day or to share with Cliff.  However, when we got home, my friend, Yvonne had left a huge 2 pint container of huckleberries on my porch that she had picked for me!
Also in this photo (above) is local water from the artisian well in the Nalgene bottles, homegrown mint from my friend, Nicki, as well as my homegrown rosemary, basil & sage.

Cliff and I do not hunt or fish, so if we are going to enjoy the bounty of Baranof Island, we are at the mercy of our friends to share their hard work with us.  Oh how thankful we are! Our freezer has never been without fish or venison in it. 
Thanks to Kent for the venison backstrap (wow!!), breakfast sausage & Roast!
Thanks to Bob & Miles for the Coho that I stir fried with broccoli, snap peas, beets.

My new friend, Ellen, grilled the king salmon (pictured above, bottom left) piled high with vegetables and herbs especially for Jasmine, Kari and I when we gathered one night for our locavore dinner!
Kari prepared baked beets (wrapped simply in aluminum foil and baked at 350 for 45-60 minutes) that were phenomenal!  We have since enjoyed them at home in place of a baked potato.

Our friends, Jim & Lesa opened their chicken coop to me, allowing me to stop by everyday and check for eggs, which was exciting and delicious! (And a little scary, I have to admit!) I hope we get chickens someday!
Look at the difference between this store bought egg with the lighter yolk (right) and the homegrown eggs from Jim & Lesa (left) with the deep yellow yolk. Fascinating!
The #1 ingredient I missed in my diet during my locavore challenge was fat.  Olive oil, coconut oil and butter were welcome additions back into my diet when my challenge ended. Crystal Light lemonade was a close second, I love crystal light!
Lori Adams, a friend of mine that runs Down To Earth, an amazing, local u-pick garden provided me with a ton of great vegetables that our whole family enjoyed all week.  This was a huge part of my lunch & daytime snacks as was the smoked salmon from our friend, Chuck.
Turnips, kohlrabi (a first for me!), celery, beets, onions, carrots, one tiny, spiny cucumber, tomatoes, broccoli, fennel & rainbow chard were among the vegetables our family ate.  It took me forever to wash and chop all the veggies and I realized how spoiled I am buying pre-washed veggies at the store!
Smoked salmon & beach asparagus!

Another lesson learned was where to access local foods in Sitka.  There were several sources I knew about in general but to actually utilize the sources has made it much more likely for me to use again!