Friday, December 31, 2021

Snow, Pizza, Gingerbread & Fireworks

 This is going to be a long post. I know my propensity to get STUCK on events with lots of photos. Last year I didn't post the gingerbread competition for MONTHS.  I have determined I WILL get this done...even if it isn't perfect.... I posted the competition photos last night...determined not to break faith with the oh-so-competitive-gherkins. 

It is now Jan 1st, 2022...though I will post this to show 12-31-21. I have spent time with Jesus. Alex had to go to work but not one other person has manifested, and it is 11:03 a.m.  I downloaded adobe on my laptop. I tried to figure out the program. I need a person to sit with me, I think.  BUT I am going to post today! 

Here goes! New Year's Eve! I don't know WHY it took me so long to realize wearing a headlamp would make the morning chores so much easier! 

Grandpa and Michael slept in. Stacia went shopping with CoRielle for gingerbread team supplies. Allie and I worked on caramel corn. My sugar free batch was horrendous. 

We love NYE.  Carrie had to work...and JaRissa are in Juneau. Everyone else dropped by at some point of the night.  Josiah and Liv arrived first. Josiah was sweet enough to promptly help Michael attack the ice in the driveway. Pickaxes y'all. It's serious. 

Unfortunately, it snowed all night and it's going to be a mess today (Jan 1st).  CoRielle arrived next. 
Millie checking out Danny

Jamin showed up next. About the time Bre and the kids arrived it was time to put Millie downstairs. There was too much activity and too many people. Izaak had a party he had to attend at True North and didn't make it. 
Danny & Annie ignore the chaos

We had a dinner of pizza and quite an array of munchies set out for the night. After eating, the first order of business was the GINGERBREAD COMPETITION. 

Guy's Team

Girl's Team 

Liv & Bella were big helpers

These two were also interested in EATING gingerbread pieces. 

As the night wore on Gideon and Benny got tired of helping the big guys. Bre had brought little gingerbread house packets. We had looked for little kits in the stores and they were out. THESE were self-adhesive which are WONDERFUL. I plan to order more for next year.  The boys and Annie and Bre and I sat down to work on them. Eventually Bella and Livie put one together too. 
Gideon is very detailed and deliberate

I had just said to Benny, "Where is the best place to put this one?" Speaking of the yellow dot he's holding. This is the look I got. Then he put it on my nose....
love that spark

Annie's house was beautiful

Sporting our dots

It appears the dots are contagious.

Santa, Benny.

Very colorful gingerbread man 

Luke, Krista and kids stopped by about 7:45 p.m. 

Around 8 p.m. everyone began to bundle up to go outside. Michael started a fire in the fire ring.  Jamin, Josiah and Michael had shoveled more around the fire ring, out the back door, and a nice spot for a table with fireworks. This year Michael and Josiah bought about a 1/3 less fireworks.  It was still an hour and a half of fireworks. LOL 

Dad decided he didn't want his feet to get cold. The past week has proven we have to keep an even closer eye on Dad. He's ignored the "safety rules" a few times and we can't just "run out" and trust he'll be o.k. I know he wants to do away with the walker...but he keeps falling because he takes every opportunity to ditch it...trying hard to keep him safe and yet not develop an adversarial relationship. This is probably one reason family's choose alternate care for their aging loved ones. No one likes being the heavy.  All that to say I stayed inside with him.  After the first round of fireworks, Gideon came inside with us. 

In a bit more time Cory came in with Danny. He worried about making Danny hate fireworks as he wasn't enjoying he stayed in with Dad and Gideon and I got to go outside. 

After about 45 minutes or so, Bre, Annie and Jojo came inside.   Luke and the kids came in and kept Millie company.  The fire is essential. 
Livie and Allie

Livie, Allie, Luke, Rylan, Kaylyn, Krista, Stacia, Arielle

Each child was paired with an adult. 
Stacia and Bella

Arielle and Benny

Allie & Livie

The snow and fireworks were magical

Bre & Jojo - the 12m snow suit happens to be pink; he rocked it!

My boyfriend

Cory and Benny - Great smiles!

Stacia, Allie, Livie, Danny & Arielle

Luke & Rylan

Bella, Annie (face plant?), Bennie

Sparklers are magical -📷byArielle


I have come to really enjoy our New Year's Eve fireworks. We can do them at our speed. When we get cold we can go inside and warm up. The fire and snow add a magical touch. It's a good thing. 

8th Annual Gherkin Gingerbread Competition

On the 7th Day of Christmas, many of the Gherkins meet to celebrate God's faithfulness in the current year and the start of the New Year. A part of this celebration is the annual Gherkin Gingerbread Competition.  2021 marks our 8th year of competing. 

The winner of this competition hosts Mr. Gingerbread all year.  Both teams started with the SAME budget and the SAME Gingerbread kit. Both teams followed all rules and used the same amount of Gingerbread. 

Check out the photos and vote for your favorite team. You may do that by leaving a comment below, or on the Courageous Joy Facebook page. Only one vote per person will count. Voting will run until 9 p.m. AKST on Saturday, January 8th. 

Team A - Hershey's Hunting Lodge

Hershey's Hunting Lodge is the quintessential Alaska fall scene frozen in time with the hunter taking his shot at the caribou atop Triumph Mountain, the shot ringing across the dark waters of the lake. Along the forest floor you see scattered leaves and bushes dotting the landscape. At the Lodge, the weathered oak tree stands tall, casting its long shadow over the wood piled high in anticipation of winter. This scene captures the thrill of weeks of hard work, focus and sacrifice culminating in a split second in which success or failure is decided. 

Pretzels are birch trees...

Lodge with Fire

The hunter takes aim

Team B - Abominable Snowman's Summer Vacation 

Mr. Abominable is excited to enjoy a summer retreat in his hideaway cabin along the Knik river. He is soaking up some sunshine while admiring the changing fall colors and termination dust along Pioneer Peak. Down the river, the Alaskan bears are also enjoying all the Knik river has to offer with kayaking, swimming, camping, and four wheeling. A classic favorite Alaskan summer day (BEWARE: the outhouse is take your own Toilet Paper). 

Past Competitions: 

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. ::snort:: 

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." 

2018 Competition - Men won with "An Iditarod Checkpoint." I must admit even some of our men voted for the women's "Family Oasis," and we were rather surprised the men won. 

2019 Competition - Women won with "Dipnetting - An Alaskan Theme." 

2020 Competition - Women won with "Four Seasons of Alaska."