Saturday, February 26, 2011


Yesterday, 4 pm rolled around and I realized that I had accomplished very little that day. So I sat down and by 6, I had sewed Julia an elephant out of a felted sweater. (Meanwhile, Julia tore apart the bedroom.) He turned out rather well, I thought, especially as I made up the pattern. Sometimes making up patterns works really well for me and sometimes it is a disaster. I think I'll save him for Julia's birthday.

And how is Julia? We've both had lingering colds, but her spirit is not diminished. She was entertained for a surprisingly long time with my bra as we were folding laundry. For Christmas she got a stuffed hippo that she's really taken with. She gives him hugs and whips him around, and does her little "veloceraptor attack" cry and pounces on him, just like she does to Dave and I when we are wrestling with her. Hippo has been joined with a stuffed black bear that she's also a fan of. She likes biting black bear's nose.

a hug for black bear

contemplating hippo's tail

I finally found a granola recipe that I really like. This is from the Winterlake Lodge cookbook.

mix in a bowl:
1/2 cup each of walnuts, pecans and almonds
3 cups of oats
a scant 1 tsp allspice

in a small pot, melt:
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla and
2/3 cup honey (can also use part brown sugar if you ran out of honey like I did)
Pour the butter mixture over the oat mixture and stir. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake at 300 for 30 minutes. scrape back into the bowl. Add 1/4 cup each dried cranberries, blueberries and cherries.
Put into a airtight container and enjoy.

My other favorite new recipe is for Cocoa Brownies. I like this one because it is cheap! No bar of expensive chocolate needed, and it is easy! I made it for the kids at school one day when the cook was gone. They liked it. 

In a pot, melt 1 cup of butter. 
Add to that 2 cups of sugar and then beat in 4 eggs and 2 tsp vanilla. 
On top of that, add 2/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking powder. Give the top a little stir to sort of mix the salt and powder into the flour, then stir it all together and pour into a greased rectangle 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 about 25 minutes, or until it doesn't look jiggly when you give it a shake. 

take 6 Tbsp soft butter 
6 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla
and beat it all together until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until it looks like a good frosting consistency. Roughly 2 cups should do it. Frost the brownies while they are warm!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


We are certainly enjoying our trip to society! We left the village on Friday morning, catching a flight to Aniak where we joined up with the other members of the district who were going and hopped on another flight to Anchorage. It was late afternoon by the time we arrived, but we lost no time ordering chinese food and getting in the hotel's pool. The whole purpose of this trip is that Dave and other teachers from the district are attending a Alaska Society for Technology in Education conference. So he's spend his days attending various sessions and presenting on the use of imovie in secondary education. Julia and I have spent our days exploring downtown Anchorage. So far our favorite thing has been the afternoon we spent at the Anchorage Museum where there is a kid's play area called the Imaginarium that Julia had a blast in. Lots of kid-sized things to explore and lots of new kids to check out too! I've been enjoying the sights and sounds of the city. Coffee shops to patronize, artsy gallery stores to check out, grocery shopping to be done. After a couple hours of carrying Julia around in the backpack, we are both ready to unwind a bit and we do so in the pool followed by naps. Julia's had a bit of diarrhea going on ever since we left home, and that's been a bit of a hassle. She seems fine in every other way, but we've had a few rather explosive moments. This morning I took her along while I got my eyes checked. I wasn't sure if it would go smoothly, but I couldn't think of any other way to do it, and it worked out fine. Julia sat on my lap and played with various eye things and the eye doctor didn't bat an eye when I started nursing her in the middle of it all. Julia loves the two full length mirrors in our hotel room, loves the big bathtub, loves the jacuzzi, and loves going to visit Marge's kids down the hall (the school district tech support woman.) Tomorrow morning we head back to Sleetmute and our usual life.

Departure day, with a 9 am sunrise! So early!

 A few village dogs came to say goodbye
The closest Julia has come to seeing a real bear, the Patagonia store
Julia loved the water table at the Imaginarium
She also loved the crazy mirrors
And the train table
She was curious but cautious about the water-bed puddle thingy

The view from the bottom of the slide

Julia prefers a beer to a sippy cup. 

The best way to serve a PB&J sandwich

Julia loving herself in the mirror

Julia taking up more than her share of the bed

Sunrise in Anchorage on departure day

Monday, February 14, 2011


This week has been full of basketball. Last weekend, Dave and I took the highschoolers down to the village of Chuathbaluk for a basketball tournament. Dave is the coach, which is a little funny considering that he's never played basketball. However, armed with the power of the internet, he's done a fine job. three of our 5 kid team had never played a real game before. Despite this they actually won a game! It was really neat to watch them play. The shy ones really came out of their shells a bit, and the hyper one did a great job staying in control of himself, and they really worked well as a team. I would have expected more than one win, but they were up against some stiff competition. Three guys were in the 6'6'' range, and a large handful of average sized kids were fast and sharp shooters. There were even a tiny set of 5th grade twins (the principal thought they were 6th grade when she said they could play) who did a pretty impressive job playing with the 6'6'' boys, scoring a couple points each. We got there in the mid afternoon and they played game after game (4 schools were there) only stopping for a brief time to convert the gym into a cafeteria for supper. The kids scarfed the food and continued with the games until 10 pm, when they were sent off to the boys and girls classrooms and to bed. It's standard practice when schools get together to have all the visiting kids sleep in the school. Everyone brings sleeping bags and a couple adults chaperone. Julia did wonderfully, going right to sleep without a peep. She was tired though, as the little Chuathbaluk kids had a great time carrying her around and playing with her. She was a pretty big fan of the basketballs too, and would crawl out after one whenever there was a chance.
In the morning, there were pancakes and then more basketball, with games packed in until lunchtime. After a fast lunch was a fast awards ceremony (we got 3rd!) and then we had to head back to the airfield to catch our flight home.

Julia is snug and warm in her sling, waiting for the plane to come

Mattie, Jonah, Amber, Dave, Miguel and Alfred

pretty scenery along the way

Size didn't matter a whole lot

They were all fast!

Coaching moments

Julia making new friends

Julia's a big fan of basketballs

Waiting for our departing plane

a nice view from sand mountain

Midweek, I got a moment to do a little bit of valentine crafts with the kids. They never fail to impress me with their creativity. I give them a model, explain how to do it, and then they go to town. Tatiana created a circle heart sculpture that I was especially impressed with.

Julia, Kiley and Wade, checking out the salmon fry

The week ended with more basketball! No traveling this time, as Sleetmute held the tournament. This wasn't a official school event, but more of a community event. After school ended on friday, folks in the neighboring villages came in by snowmachine and anyone who wanted to play for a village's team signed up. Dave was the man of the kitchen, cooking burgers, fries, frybread, and nachos and selling the usual assortment of "student store" items like candy, chips and soda. Games went on long into the evening, and started up again in the morning, only the menu changed to pancakes and corned beef hash. By noon it was back to burgers again, and Dave was kept busy flipping things until late afternoon, when things wound down. Our thermometer was in the -5 to -15 range by then, and as some folks were facing an hour's travel by snowmachine, it could be downright dangerous to wait too long to go home. Susan the principal had gotten the heat finally fixed. Earlier in the day it seemed a bit chilly in the school, and we realized that there was no hot water in the taps. Luckily there were a couple of the school's maintenence guys at the game, and eventually they got things patched up. Dave came home and collapsed on the couch. Friday had been quite a day. Angela (the elementary teacher) was gone, and the school cook didn't show, so Dave had to teach the high school AND throw together breakfast and lunch for the kids, and then roll right into basketball tournament work. Julia and I came down with a fairly wretched cold a little earlier in the week, so we were of limited help. I did work the cash box for awhile while Julia was passed around by the kids, but we mostly took it easy, napping often and long. We're on the upside of it now, and we need to be, because later this week we get to go to Anchorage! Dave gets to attend the Alaskan Schoolteacher Technology Exposition, and give a presentation on the instructional use of Imovie for secondary students. Julia and I get to go to museums and stores and lounge in the hotel pool. More to come on all that!

Julia helping Mattie take money at the Student Store

Julia, supervising pancake making

Thursday, February 3, 2011

the source of sanity, the Marathon Nap

Julia is taking one of those marathon naps that is lasting so long I have to get up periodically and make sure she's still breathing. I even risked waking her to take a picture. She's been a needy little girl lately. Pretty much ever since we got home, she's been very reluctant to play on her own, and instead she hangs on to my knee while I eat or type or read or cook. When I put her on my lap, she stiffens and squirms to get down. When I put her down she wails like I've pinched her. When I stand up and carry her around on my hip she is happy and content. Since our house is about 10 feet by 10 feet this gets old for me fast. She is content in the great outdoors too, so I've started adding a morning walk to our routine. Unfortunately this has also coincided with bad weather, so our walks have been confined to close to the house. The river has finally frozen solid, so we have new territory to explore. This clingyness could be a sign of the eminence of new teeth erupting, but she won't let me near her mouth to see. This could also be a sign that I've caused her significant emotional damage by taking her traveling for a month. Or this could be a sign that I've raised either an insecurely attached child or a child with avoidant attachment or ambivilant attachment or disorganized attachment (I'm learning lots in my psychology class)  Or maybe she's on drugs. I learned that phrase from Kaethe's excellent parenting blog Why wait until she's 16 to use that reasoning when it applies so well to her behavior now?
Most of this I doubt though. Maybe the teething excuse is valid, or maybe this is just a phase.
We finally had a date night. We sent Julia over to Taylor and Angela's house for an hour last night. Dave and I ate chocolate cake with strawberry sauce and talked, mostly about whether we thought Julia was crying, bawling or wailing at that very moment. When our hour was over, we ran over to collect our poor abandoned baby only to find that she barely noticed that we were gone, didn't cry at all and had a great time playing. So I guess date night was a success and will hopefully be repeated often now that we can release our fears of having a traumatized child.
I am typing away on my new laptop that my sweet husband purchased for me which is a small miracle considering that 48 hours ago Julia dumped about a cup of water straight onto the keyboard. The laptop promptly shut itself off with a decisive "zoop" and I went into a panic thinking of all the photos I'd probably lost forever, not to mention all my class assignments that I hadn't submitted yet and not to mention having to tell Dave that I'm responsible for another laptop's demise (ask me sometime about how I had Dave's laptop run over by a bus.)  Turns out all my fears were for naught. I propped it tent-like upside down above our heater and let two days go by before powering it back up and it's like nothing ever touched it. Praise Be!

Molten Chocolate Cake from Martha Stewart
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup white sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz really good bittersweet chocolate, melted

arrange a baby sitter.
preheat oven to 400.
butter 6 muffin tin cups or 6 ramkins. Dust with white sugar.
Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in flour and salt. Beat in melted chocolate. Pour into cups and bake 8-10 minutes, until still jiggly in the center. Let cool 10 minutes. Turn out onto serving plate.

Strawberry Rum sauce of my own invention
Thaw frozen strawberries or use fresh.
puree strawberries until you have about a cup of liquid. Add a splash of rum and a drop of vanilla or better yet, make your own vanilla rum by adding a vanilla bean to a small bottle of rum and letting it sit for a month, shaking occasionally. Add a splash of that. Add brown sugar to taste.
Pour over chocolate cakes and eat!

Julia woke up so fussy that I had to wrestle her down to check, and it's true, tooth number 5 is making an entrance! I guess she's not on drugs yet...