Friday, August 06, 2021

Michael Surprises us with a New Fire Ring

We have been talking about what we'd like an outdoor entertaining/relaxing area to look like since we moved into this house. Friday, August 5th, is four years since we closed on the house.  I was PROMISED a hot tub if I moved to Alaska, along with a sauna and a llama, none of which have materialized - yet.  

When we moved in there was an Alaskan fire ring in place. We were thrilled. One of my favorite parts of living in the RV was nearly nightly campfires....such great family talks, reads and treats around the fire.  This fire ring was basically a circle of rocks. It worked....but Michael surprised us this week...

He decided to make a real fire ring....I was a bit skeptical...I liked the rocks and I have been eying the big cast iron ones with moose cut outs.....but this turned out GREAT. 

It's deeper.  The space is more defined and it STILL has all the rocks I like so well. Yes, I want it more than the cast iron ones at Three Bears. This one has more character.  

We were thrilled to have Jamin come by for Pizza and a movie a campfire.  Big things are happening for him. He has moved into his 4-plex - the other 3 units are rented. He hired a full-time transaction coordinator for his real estate business. AND!!! He was given the option to participate in an ultra marathon in the next 2 weeks. He will run thirty miles over Ketsugi Ridge...doesn't sound "fun" to me, but to each his own. 

Michael suggested a fire, rather than a movie. It was a cool night - but not raining - seemed like a good time to try out the new fire ring. 
Michael, Nolan, Jamin, Stacia, Allie 

Stacia used the time to work on more training for Millie. We want her to be obedient enough to sit outside with us....she did good. It was a lot of work for Stacia, and then Allie. 

One night, when we were living in the RV in the redwoods, Ed, Cheryl, and boys, joined us around the campfire. They brought cast iron pie irons....I REMEMBERED and decided to try an experiment...

They had shown us to make pies with buttered bread, pie fillings, and a marshmallow.  I TRY HARD not to do sugar these days. I wondered if I could slice a fresh apple thin, sprinkle it with cinnamon and use one of the smallish max mallows.... These guys couldn't be tempted to try anything other than ye ole s'mores.

Michael opted for traditional as well. He may have actually simply had a roasted marshmallow. 

Stacia is an adventurous foodie. LOL 

My apple pie was SO incredibly GOOD. 

Jamin went home. We talked on. Stacia and Millie went in. We talked on. Nolan went to bed. We talked on. Michael, Allie and I talked late into the night...until we had a great bed of coals and I was left dreaming of buying a Dutch oven....though it would have been a bit late to try to make anything. LOL 

Endings and Beginnings....

Today marked the end of the first week of  the beginning of Allie's senior, and Stacia's junior year, of high school.  A funny story about THIS fact....we do summer school. Stacia had a couple of upcoming 1/2 credit classes to get a jump start on. Allie had one class to get a jumpstart on and a couple last catch up classes to we worked through May and June.  

July began with guests and Krista's wedding, it ended with guests and dip netting. Allie's online course cut off on June 31st . We had to  re-register before she could continue.   It seemed a July break would be perfect.  I noted Stacia continued to work on school. I was impressed with her dedication. 

I've been observing an odd little look Stacia gives Allie when I mention break being over....and the rolling start of our school year. Last night we were talking about school and I mentioned this was their first week of school. The look manifested. 

"What does the look mean?" 

"School starting is a bit of a sore point." 

"You don't want to do school? Why?" 

Um - it appears Stacia missed the memo (I really don't KNOW how) that we were on summer break in July. We were well into July before she figured out why Allie was sleeping in without comment from me, and why she was the only one concerned with school. ::snort:: 

Poor thing - not sure how to make that up to her. LOL 

Not only is this the beginning of the school year... it is also the end of Allie's summer job. She has worked seasonally for the past two years at Yukon John's - frying and selling pork'll see them at various gun shows, craft shows, and the State Fair. Nice people. She introduced us to pork rinds this spring. I'll probably never eat a pork rind without thinking about Allie. 

Stacia suggested a tea to celebrate all these beginnings and endings... I am always up for a tea....we had fun prepping. Grandpa was interested and was invited to the tea table. We picked Allie up  - she was suitably surprised by our impromptu celebration and helped with the finishing touches. The candles did brighten the gray day...well, candles and giant light bulbs. 

The party started with just us 4...Grandpa kept saying, "When is everyone getting here?"  The concept of a tea party for JUST US seemed foreign to him.  I think we'll win him over.  He also wanted to know why we didn't have a "Coffee Party?"

Stacia made a sugar free carrot cake - that is YUMMY....these gold flakes were perfect in the sugar- free, cream cheese frosting.  In the end we scraped a LOT of frosting off. We decided to make some carrot cake  cake pops in the next couple of days. It was just too much sweet - even those it wasn't sugar. 

Michael came home and accepted our invite to sit a spell.  Arielle and the boys popped in while we were sipping away....they were quickly invited to the tea table. 

Arielle had the audacity to point out  a couple of my birch leaves have  yellowed. It is NOT fall. It IS summer. the midst of this tea I remembered....we first began our family tea parties when assigned at Elmendorf AFB.  The winter days are long. We broke for a quick tea every day...from where ever the kids were...they'd settle in at the table and we'd talk about studies, reading, plans, games....just a fancy after school snack really. It's at that assignment I first learned to like tea.  

Introducing a new generation to the tea table

And so - with a new winter approaching...we will reinstate our family teas...maybe not every day...but often enough.  The way the table grows...who knows what fun we may have during the winter. 

The changing of seasons is exciting...challenging if the long one ahead isn't your favorite...but I'm being reminded to celebrate the endings, the beginnings, and to EMBRACE the change - even if it's winter.

Today, I am happy to re-discover something pleasant to anticipate as the season changes....

We had planned to meet Jamin this evening to try out his paddle board and get a few pointers. No, we don't have paddle boards...but we may at some point. LOL  Today has been rainy and dreary. We've switched gears and he is on his way for pizza and a movie instead. It's good to flex with the seasons as they come - especially at this time of year in Alaska. LOL