Saturday, March 31, 2018

The End of a Full Week

I spent the second of half of this week working on "admin" stuff. 

I worked on nailing down details for April and May's Homestead Club meetings for IDEA. It took longer than  expected. I'm not done. I'm looking for a beekeeper. 

Stacia and I decided we would visit Krista in May. She and Maria sent the money for Stacia to visit. She was a bit nervous about an 18 hour trip alone. We were a bit nervous about it too. We decided I could break away for a week - so that's what we're doing.  It was a bit wild getting the connections worked out. LOL  We're looking forward to it.  It will be the same week the boys are on their Epic Hike....good timing. Michael and Arielle will keep the chicks and sprouts healthy. 

We cooked and baked....because I like to feed my family as often as possible. πŸ˜‰ I may need to buy a tofu press eventually????? No, THEY don't eat tofu. I made Sweet and Sour (meatballs for them and tofu for me). 

Michael has continued to work in the workshop. The kids are pushing through the  school year. We'd like to be done by May 1st.  Nolan's grades must be in by then. One more month and he will be FINISHED.

Arielle and Benny came up to watch a movie with us last night. Some things hardly change at all. She was tired with school and being a new mama....she snoozed during the movie and Nolan and Benny enjoyed some male bonding. 

It would appear I may need to move furniture out, so I can move planters IN.....I need to transplant more sprouts and start some more seeds.....and then figure out the light and space for them. BUT soon it will be warm enough to put some plastic hoops up around beds and move them outside....right?

Look at this!!!! Taken at 8:45 p.m. All of a sudden we have 13.5 hours of sunlight. It wasn't very long ago we had 5 - 6 hours......summer is on it's way.....

I'm considering change curriculum for Alex's final two years and Stacia's high school year. I'm thinking of going back to Sonlight, a program we first used 20 years ago. We were guinea pigs for some of their early years. LOL  It is more concretely laid out than our current curriculum (which we DO love).  I think a concrete plan, rather than so many options, would help us have realistic goals. I tend to think we are always under-achieving....until the kids graduate college cum laude.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wonderful Wednesday

The morning revealed another spring snow storm. 

Michael had two appointments, (one in Anchorage), and a lunch date with Jared. I was supposed to go along, but we decided it would be fine if I stayed home today. I had things to get done: 
  • Wrangle some Homestead Club details for April's meeting
  • Finish some insurance appeal stuff
  • Make dental appointments for the kids and I
  • Clean the bathroom - possibly dust and mop too! 
  • Scoop Yuuki dookie from the yard
  • Get the blog  caught up
  • Renew our ministerial licenses
  • Pay our taxes 
  • Call Dad
  • Read a mystery 
None of these are BIG items; but together they add up to impossible if one is NOT HOME. πŸ˜€In any event, I could use a day at home and Michael felt my record keeping abilities weren't needed at either appointment.

The snow made it much more urgent that I move Yuuki Dookie to the top of the list before it was all buried again.....She was content to watch from her front row seat INSIDE....the WARM house.

 Bre asked us to watch Gideon while she and Bella Showered. He has a new trick - scooting. In times past, I could sit him on the counter and eat...he was content to sit and watch. Today, he scooted away to Auntie Stacia. Note Jenny's fish casserole on Stacia's plate. It's a hit. No, she didn't give the baby any.

It became apparent, if I was going to do anything, I'd have to strap on Gideon. He seemed a bit perplexed...but was happy to ride along as I dusted.

This is what happens when it melts, freezes, melts, freezes....

We expected Michael home from Anchorage at 4:00 or 4:30. At 5:00, I began calling him. No answer.  We were having friends for dinner at 6:00 p.m.  The kids were to take the Jeep and drive to youth group at 6:15 p.m.  5:45 p.m. and Elaine arrived, Michael was still not home. 6:00 p.m. and Dale arrived, still no Michael. His phone went directly to voice. Jared confirmed he'd left Michael at 1 p.m. and he didn't know of any errands Michael was running.

My mind began to run wild.....the kids would never forgive me (and I'd not forgive myself) if I stayed home and Michael  had a sleep attack and wrecked on the Glenn. 6:30 p.m. and I was discussing when I should call the troopers. I wasn't sure if he was on the Old Glenn or the Glenn. Yes, in the future, we'll be sure those at home know which route we're taking.😏 He was 2 hours later than I expected him, he knew we had company coming over, he knew the kids needed the car......and then about 6:40 he walked in the door. Safe!   Shew....yes, he DID stop at Lowe's, but the traffic was also bad AND he had to stop when he realized the gas gauge isn't always reliable and he thought it was low. Sure enough - it took 19 gals in our 20 gal tank. He could have been much later. His phone is notorious for dying, but the charger in the car wasn't working.

Dale and Elaine brought pizza. πŸ•πŸ“πŸŽI made salad and fruit salad. We kept the focus on getting to know each other - and it was a great night.  The kids made it to youth group late, but stayed late to make up for it. πŸ˜€πŸ½πŸ˜ We visited so long  poor Elaine and Dale were surely later than they expected getting home. (Still not up to the my old photo taking capabilities - ah well, eventually you'll see photos and know we really ARE meeting real people and making honest-to-goodness friends in the community). 

I turned the night light on for the table garden and headed to blog one last entry before calling it a day. The rest of those items can wait for tomorrow.

That stop at Lowe's? He got me more dirt, perlite and peat moss....and containers to plant some tomatoes and more.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Bella's Volunteer Experience

I believe it is never to early to get a child involved in volunteering in family, community, and church. We simply took our kids along with us.  Bre had MOPS today. It is much easier for her if Bella stays with me on MOPS day because someone picks her up and Bella's car seat is difficult to move around.

MOPS comes when the uncles and auntie are schooling. I try to safeguard school time for them. Bella and I kept active. We colored. We read books. We watered seedlings and planted a bit.  I looked at the day's "list" and knew I needed to get  200 eggs filled with candy. She was a willing helper.

Bella's  eyes grew big, round, and sparkly when I dumped all the eggs on the counter, pulled up a chair for her, and emptied the bags of candy. LOL 

I did have to explain the candy needed to go into the eggs, she should not feed Yuuki any, and  - well - she only snatched one piece for herself and one for Yuuki. She's a good girl. It WAS tempting.

Yay, she gets the candy into the egg! She was content to work on this until we were done! She'd hand them to me to click shut when she got a piece to fit. 

A colorful pile ready to go back to church. We had fun together, made a memory, AND we checked the item off the list. Go us! 

Why all the eggs? On Sunday, after breakfast and service, our church hosts a big Easter Egg hunt. I love that there is still snow on the ground and children need boots to hunt for eggs. LOL

If you are in the local area, feel free to join us Sunday at Matanuska Assembly of God on W.  Auklet Street. Breakfast is at 0930. Service begins at 1100. 

The Shelves

There is a nook-shaped room in the basement. It is too small to be much of a bedroom - though it'd be a cute nursery. We, however, have more need for book storage, than baby paraphernalia storage. In addition to the shape, this room has odd ledges and a low ceiling along one edge of the room. Michael decided to build a bookshelf the width of the one wall, just the right size to fit under the ledge. The other shelves are full and were too tall, anyway.

We need the shelves to finish unpacking this room. I downsized our books to 3 shelves. I kept 4 bookshelves, but Michal has an office which migrated to our home when he retired. It will be nice to have the shelves up so we can finish the room. It's another project I'm trying to finish before it gets nice enough to garden and build outside.

Michael thought he may have to build the shelves in the room. He made some alterations and he and Jamin worked on it in the garage - much nicer for new babies trying to nap. CoRielle's room is down there. There was always going to be a day when the noise and shelf would have to move into the basement. 

They took over the common area - which is pretty much CoRielle's living room and kitchen area. 

They cleared boxes out of the study, moved the shelf into the study, and brought the boxes back. 

Stacia and I put furniture back in place, swept and mopped. The guys worked on last touches. 

The shelves are in place and nearly all assembled. We'll have to get the room unpacked in the near future.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Newbie Gardening in Alaska

You can watch our video about this here

Those who know us, KNOW we were not formerly gardeners. Though we have grown as much as possible in a variety of containers - digging up military housing yards is frowned upon. We want to grow, raise, and catch as much of our food as possible. We live in Alaska - we'll simply have to figure this out. I didn't find a lot of gardeners here to drill for advice. I did watch a lot of YouTube channels, joined Alaska gardening Facebook groups, read approximately 50 books about gardening up here or in other Northern climates, read seed packets, the Farmer's Almanac......and got quite overwhelmed. 

We learned we needed a greenhouse - which we don't have. We would need a LARGE garden - more like a mini-farm. We need to feed our soil - it won't be great this year....but we decided this is a process. We were going to try different things and start figuring out what works up here.

Our first seedlings never sprouted. I used the mini greenhouse Michael got at Walmart. I didn't have a grow light. We added a grow light and planted again.  I KNOW it seems early - but this is what the Alaskan groups and books said to do. Our growing season is SHORT and I have to have starts if I hope to harvest before frost begins again. 

Stacia moistens the Jiffy pod things...

I added a grow light. Unfortunately, it will only fit on the top shelf. 

A friend, Judie, saw my dismal failure with the first set of seedlings and loaned us this! 

I began to plant in "garbage." LOL  I covered with plastic wrap as needed for the greenhouse effect - it's working. 

They sprouted. It said 10-14 days to germinate and I had sprouts on day they grew, I realized what I'd read about the Jiffy Pods wasn't quite going to work. I was told they are great as they can go directly into the garden. BUT there is NO WAY these things would last for another 8 weeks in the pods....they had to be transplanted....more time, more dirt, more space.....but we're determined. This year is about learning. 

I simply couldn't wait any longer. They had to be transplanted. 

Stacia and I made potting soil....equal parts perlite, peat moss and garden soil. 

We have a beautiful tub of potting soil on the deck. 

We dug this under-the-bed storage container out and planted seedlings. I didn't have enough space as I was going by the distance on the packets. 
Rigged up a greenhouse - but had to move them inside when it got COLD and snowy. 

I move the grow light up and down the "bed" - they're getting about 3 hours a day. Not ideal - but they look much better than in the Jiffy Pods or on the deck. 

There are always things to explore at Gemma and Gramps. 

Check it out!  Note the moving sticker on the right. LOL 

I know it's odd to have a planter on the table - but we have no space for more trays....this works. In fact, we discussed at dinner it may be nice to plant a salad garden in this after these are transplanted....pick you own before you eat. LOL  I did get more of seedlings into the planter....Michael said it doesn't matter if they are close,  as I'll be transplanting them again....probably a few times. 

 Yuuki has been schooled to look, but not touch the sprouts. 

We're collecting all sorts of possible planters in the nook. 

 I took time to go find a book on a topic other than composting, gardening or chicken raising. 

By the way, keeping the garden from becoming a buffet for the wildlife here on the mountain will be a trick! Michael is thinking that through. I found the cute fence I want - he's thinking practical. It's a process. Practical this year - cute another year. We have a ton of projects this year. Can't do it all now.

Mondays are for Dying Eggs

Stacia and I got to dye Easter eggs with The D family today. Welllll, Stacia dyed eggs - I am the official family photographer! LOL  How fun to be here for Bella's first Easter Egg Dying event. It's a blessing!  

Waiting for eggs to Boil - Gideon isn't quite sure what the excitement is about. 

Stacia told me she'd never dyed eggs. Of course, she also said, "WHY?"  I guess she didn't miss it, but we had her do a few eggs anyway. I've offered to rectify this lapse of parenting, but they don't seem to care. By the time the younger four were on the scene we were down to either shrink wrap sleeves, or candy-filled plastic eggs.  They do remember Resurrection Eggs and the Lenten wreath.  I was happy she got to do this today. 
Coloring on eggs - hmmmm.

Oh, cuuuute! 
 Bella discusses technique with Bre and Izaak. 

Poor darling, yep, that's about how I feel when dying eggs. LOL 
I love this photo! 

Bella's first egg. 

Izaak did some cool gel dye. 

Stacia made some with dye and rice...they were cool! 

A beautiful bunch of eggs. 

Gideon knows it's time to make a break for it!