Sunday, April 21, 2019

Nolan's Un-ceremony

Nolan graduated May 2018. Following in the pattern of Jared and Arielle he didn't want a "graduation."  He took it a step further and didn't want a party, dinner or DQ trip either.  It gets harder to keep our stance of many years. We believe if we are going to school independently, if we are raising them to make decisions and live with the consequences, we should honor their wishes on how they we did. 


We did go to the opening of an Avenger movie...and he said that was his graduation celebration. We didn't realize he was SERIOUS. 
 BUT - Nolan is duo-diploma'd.....once from our home school and once from the Galena School district as we are homeschooling with a charter school. The diploma arrived in the mail. We waited for the perfect time to give it to him....

The time never arrived. 

Today, most of the kids were at the house. Nolan was home from work. We remembered. We gave him his high school diploma.

Well done, Nolan. Nolan is taking a gap year. He is working, saving and deciding what he wants to pursue as a career.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Bella's Tea

Bre invited all  the girl Gherkins over for a tea party to celebrate Bella's 3rd birthday! My how time flies!

Bella loves princesses - today's theme was Frozen.....

Bella is a charming pre-schooler. Full of energy, laughter and a tad bit of sass. She loves her family. She often calls Auntie (Stacia) on her pretend phone, and then informs Bre, "Auntie is coming."  It has been fun to get to know Bella more this year. She is a charmer. 

Gideon has eyes in which  one could get lost. He's been christened Bubbie by Bella.

Annie (3 months old) is content to snooze while the activity gets underway. BreZaak have full hearts and days. 

Benny's new pose when Gemma grabs the camera

Bella loves tea. Bre has convinced her  milk in her special tea cup is tea. Smart Mommy!  Papa and Uncles Alex and Nolan dropped by, but this day was mainly for the littles and us gals.  I did find myself thinking of Krista.  We knew this would probably be our last girl thing before Larissa moved to Juneau and that made the day extra special.
Bella, Bre, Gideon, Larissa, Me, Stacia, Arielle, Annie

Annie is ambivalent about teas just yet

Benny is all for teas if it means a bit of sweets!

Uncle Nolan captured Annie
It was a great day to celebrate the blessing of a special girl in our family's life. Bella brings joy and zest to every gathering and brightens our memories when we're apart.

I find myself in awe of God's leading on days like this. Our Air Force family never envisioned ending up with so many of us in the same location - ALASKA of all places. Being near to celebrate birthdays is something Michael and I had not dreamed of...and yet, God made a way!

Monday, April 01, 2019

2018 Annual Gherkins Gingerbread Competition

The most anticipated New Year's Eve activity around our home is the Annual Gherkins Gingerbread Competition. This year was no different. What IS different this year, is that I did not get the contest ready for voting the first week in January. I am rectifying my grave familial sin this morning - on April 1st. ::snort::  Cute - Gingerbread Gherkin chained to my laptop until I gt the Gingerbread post done. LOL 
Get me out of the nook - publish the post already! 
The prize of this competition is the right to host   "Gingerbread Gherkin" for 2019. The winners  take photos of his adventures, share him with one another, and I post photos of him on the blog and on our Courageous Joy Facebook page. This Gingerbread Gherkin is ready for fun and cannot understand why he has been cooped up in my nook, instead of living life big with a winning team. He's missed births, job promotions and the Iditarod. ::bowing my head in shame::

Stacia and Nolan served as team captains again this year. Each team was provided the same gingerbread kit, spatulas, bowls, spoons, and $20 to shop for anything else they may want. We did not provide challenge items this year - as each team had built-in toddler challenges.
Bella's 3rd competition 

Gideon's 2nd competition 

Members began taking turns entertaining toddlers

Benny's 2nd competition 
We have noted that most of the contestants friends will vote on Facebook and not on a blog official voting will take place on our Facebook Page - Courageous Joy. The poll is pinned to the TOP of the  Courageous Joy Facebook page; voting ends Friday,  5 April,  at 9:00 p.m. AKST.

To keep everything scrupulously unbiased, we will no longer designate "Girls Team" and "Boys Team" until after a winner is declared. Entries are presented in alphabetical order.

Team A presents "An Iditarod Checkpoint"

Enjoy this Alaska winter landscape, captured in this scene from the Iditarod. Great attention was given to detail, from the rolling terrain, to the trees, to the mountains towering in the distance, to the river flowing through the scene, and the Northern Lights illuminating the way for the mushers. This submission captures the greatest race in the world with maximum clarity. 


Do you see the wildlife challenge to our musher?

Sled (by trees) with dog team - at Aid station 

Mountains, snow, Northern Lights, rivers, sleds.....

Team B presents "Wibbly Wobbly Acres - A family oasis in Alaska"

We made a charming farm nestled in the Alaskan woods. Some of its highlights include a delightful garden, green fields with horses grazing, and a sweet lil red barn complete with a barnyard. The numerous tiny details are sure to delight as they draw you further into this peaceful oasis.


Harvesting hay and horse pasture

Working in the garden - minus the moose! 

Bunnies and pasture in the foreground, barn, chicken, garden in the back 

Chicken coop and hay bales

Go vote now. Voting will end at 9 p.m. on Friday the 5th of April. 

Past year's competitions and winners:
2013 Competition - Men won with their Town square complete with a clock tower.

2014 Competition - Women won with their sweet Chapel; Men's Night Before Christmas disqualified them according to judge Michael.

2015 Competition - Women won with Mad Hatter's Tea Party over the Men's rendition of Santa's Village.

2016  Competition - Women won with their  "Portrait of  2016."

2017 Competition - Men won with "An Alaskan Getaway," over the women's offering of "Snowman's Lodge."