Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Bike Ride

Often, while flying along on various jobs, looking down at the lakes, mountains, and pathways, my husband gets the best ideas for fun things to do with the family. Especially during the spring! He can always come home and tell us where he sees the warmest weather , the fewest number of people, and the least snow on the ground. Because of his bird's eye view, we usually have a few early spring adventures that jump start us into summer recreation.

This year, he came home excited about taking a day-long bike ride into a beautiful campground. This campground is located next to a gorgeous river, home to some of the best salmon fishing grounds in the world. Due to its popularity, reservations are made a year in advance by the tourists, and local people just stay away. But, this time of year it is quietly left to rest, sits unpopulated, and is a wonderful place to explore.

I was excited about the trip, but unable to go due to other things on my schedule that I could not get out of....so Michael and the girls set off by themselves this time. Bikes were hauled out of storage, tires pumped, gears checked, helmets dusted off, and off they went!
They had an incredible time! There was no snow anywhere, and they could zip along exploring each and every camp site, with not another soul around. They did a lot of daydreaming, and came home hopping with ideas for summer camping.

Luckily, Chena took her little Nikon camera, (they knew they would be in BIG trouble with me if no pictures were taken!) and so I was able to listen to their fun stories and see the scenery both.

Penelope ready to ride:

After riding through the entire campground, they carried their bikes down the steep steps to the steel pathway which follows the river all the way to the mouth of the river.

Luckily, Chena figured out her auto-timer and they could all three get in the picture. Look at my handsome husby and beautiful daughters. I'm so glad they had this day together...

The girls at the top of the steps:

Down by the river:

What a great path to ride on!

Looking down that path, it makes me think about what lies ahead this summer. Its as if the road disappearing in the distance is beckoning me to dream! To think of what adventures await my family as the summer season fast approaches! To pat myself on the back for surviving another long Alaskan winter, and to smile brightly at the idea of a more friendly season to play in!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Lava You

Sometimes when I am feeling silly, and want to say I love you to one of my girls, I will say "Just like a big volcano, I LAVA you!!". I think about that when I look at these fierce pictures of our close neighbor and active volcano, Mount Redoubt.

I was able to fly with my husband around the volcano the day it erupted, and got these pictures. It was an unbelievable experience, and one I will never forget.
Words fail me!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Killer Omelets

In our family, we love omelets. I mean, we REALLY love our omelets. We call them Killer Omelets, and we sometimes devote a whole night to them. We even make omelets while out camping, where you cook them in a bag over boiling water...but that's another post.

I like to put surprises in my omelets. I like to try new combinations of meat, veggies, and cheeses. I'm not usually too adventurous with food, but somehow my egg-loving-ness makes it alright.

I start with my trusty omelet maker. I got this baby for $3.50 at a garage sale about six years ago. So you could say its earned its keep. Its shaped like an omelet, has two parts, and is hinged in the middle.

Mix three eggs with a bit of milk or cream. Cream will make them fluffier, but I often only have milk. Whip until foamy.
Grease your omelet pan, and pour 2/3 egg into the "bottom" part and the last 1/3 into what will become your "top" of your omelet. You will be able to tell which is which, because the hinged part without the handle is obviously what you will close to complete your creation and "stack" it on the other part, like a sandwich.
Turn on medium high heat.
While the eggs start to cook, I saute my mushrooms in another small pan, with butter and fresh-pressed garlic. Lots of garlic. :)

After the eggs have started to firm up (wiggle the pan to see how much liquid you have left) turn the heat down and add your "fixins" to the bottom half of your omelet. I like to use a combination of cheeses, such as swiss, mozzarella, cheddar, pepper jack, etc. I always shred it. You can layer your ingredients, but I like to mix mine up because it makes it prettier when you cut into it (yeah, I like my food pretty...so deal with it. Hee hee) and makes the stronger flavors combine with the more subtle flavors for a more pleasant taste. For this omelet I used mushrooms, canadian bacon, mozz, cheddar, and Gertie's Artichoke Tapenade (this is made with wine vinegar, artichokes, green olives, and other oils. Its yummy).
After the eggs are cooked but not hard, I then add more cheese on top, and turn off the heat altogether. The cheeses melt nicely this way. Then, I "close" my lid, which brings the two halves of the omelet together with the good stuff in between.
I slide it carefully onto a waiting plate, and add garnishes such as parsley and paprika, or bits of olives, etc. Anything that adds a bit of flourish and color.
Tada! A Killer Omelet.

Seriously seriously yummy.

Do you love omelets like we do? What is your favorite combination? Share your own ideas, so I can try it!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On a Clear Night

You could fall in love with the earth all over again.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!!!

More pics later, but for now, Dandelion just wanted to say HAPPY EASTER!!!!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Orphans Find a Way- A Play by 776 Gals

Thanks to dedicated, creative, and energetic girls, taxi moms, and a great script by Chena, the "Orphans Find a Way" play was performed at last!

Our little girls' club, the 776 Gals, decided a few months ago that they wanted to produce and perform a play. Because Chena loves to write, she was asked to write the play. Of course, the other girls gave her lots of ideas, and they all decided they wanted it set back in history, with "lots of action" and of course a part for each club member.

So Chena wrote the play. I never thought about letting her do it during her school day, so she wrote the whole thing on her own time, and edited it too. She never asked for help, and I didn't give her any, so I was surprised when she finished and it was so long and well done! I really loved the story, it drew me right in.

They practiced as often as possible, and had a ball getting the right costumes together for each cast member. I did a lot of thrift store shopping!
It was decided that the play would take place in our friends' garage, and there would be no charge, but only moms were invited to attend. They had a very serious club meeting, and decided that "donations welcome" would be the perfect sign to hang at the entrance of the play!

On performance day, they handed out playbills, and had carefully included the warning "No flash photography, please." (they were not impressed that I cheerfully and consistently ignored the rules, and took lots of pics...)

The play was three acts long, with three scenes in each act. Quite impressive! The most amazing thing to me though, were the set changes. I do not believe seven adults could have ever done a better job! The set changes were quite involved, and in the dark, but happened almost seamlessly! I was seriously in awe.

Although there are seven 776 Gals, a little sister, age 5, was invited to be a cast member, and she took it quite seriously, memorized her lines, and did them with gusto. Adorable.
The play is about 6 orphan girls who travel with their teacher by train to go to another part of the country in the hope of being adopted. There is lots of action on the way! There is a fire aboard the train, a thief who must be chased and tackled, and trouble at every turn.
Here they are on the "train" (complete with sound effects and whistles)
Hoping to be adopted!
A bout with Scarlet Fever...
Gathering eggs in the barnyard: (I love how they made those "chickens"!)
Praying for their sick friend
Eating pie at dinner (they made a real pumpkin pie for this scene!)
Their teacher, Miss Kelly, (Chena) makes sure they are ready to be presented to a potential
adoptive mom
Our youngest cast member
Great news! The play ends as they hear they have all been adopted by one lonely widow woman!
The cast takes a bow. Well done!
All the girls had a wonderful time doing the play, and they are already hard at work on the next one, a sequel.
(as I have heard by eavesdropping, but its all a secret so shhhhhhhh)
Disclaimer: no paper chickens were injured during the making of this play.
*Note* Don't believe it if you hear that the moms insisted on being served pumpkin pie during intermission. But it was very gooooood.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Kick Up Your Heels

Some days, don't you just want to cut loose and kick up your heels?

Like this!

(I was playing around with my new camera, and grabbed this shot of my friend's horse, so had to share it with you guys.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Already?

I'm a bit shocked that March went by so fast.

Maybe its because we were so busy, or maybe its because we have been distracted waiting for the volcano to do its thing, or perhaps all the extra daylight just gave us added energy and excitement.

Whatever it is, I'm not complaining! Because here it is April already! I'm pretty thrilled.

Dewey had to go back to his real home, but we sure had fun with that goofy little lamb.
Mukluk the mini meets Dewey the lamby-boy. They loved each other!

All the kids who came over just loved running and playing with Dewey.

Chena had a vaulting lesson this week. Its time to start getting ready for the summer riding season, and the vaulting team. Here she is on her lesson horse, doing a "flag" stance. I took this pic with my blackberry, so its a bit blurry.

I tried a new dish, and we all loved it. Its Spinach Artichoke Chicken Breasts, with Parmesan Potato Gnnochi. SOOOO yummy! (I'm a serious artichoke NUT)

Bunnies in the garage...why? When Mt Redoubt erupted, we got quite bit of ash blowing around,and falling on the ground. We wanted the bunnies to come inside for awhile, until the air was safe again. The girls loved playing with them in the garage, and the cats even kept asking for "visitation" with their fuzzy buddies.

This is Mossy Meadow:

And this is Tippy:

Dandelion was not sure what to make of all the gray ash on the ground either. We made her wipe her paws when she came in the house.

Lots to look forward to in April. The girls have their Horse Bowl competition in two weeks. They have been preparing for this since September, with weekly study sessions with their team, and lots of extra home research too. I'm proud of their hard work. More details on that later!

Penelope joined an indoor soccer team for 4th and 5th graders. Her practices are almost an hour's drive from here, but it will be worth it because she loves it! She has an awesome coach, so I am very happy about that.

We just bought tickets for a trip to Hawaii in May! Just the girls and I this time, Michael has a flying job he is counting on, and cannot go. Thanks Honey, for being such a good provider for us, and I'll bring you back a very tan wifey and maybe a pinapple or two.

Speaking of Hawaii, I'm going to have lots of fun taking pictures there with my NEW camera! I have saved up for quite a long time, and after lots of research decided on a Nikon d90. I'm in love with it, and I have only had it in my hands for a few minutes so far! From all the reviews I have read in my research, its a wonderful piece of equipment, and I look forward to a long life together...

Michael is out of town right now on a flying job at Sheep Mountain. He is working with Fish and Game. He finds the sheep, flying in the Super Cub. Then he radios the guys in the helicopter, and they come flying in, low. The "wrangler" jumps out with a net, leaps on the sheep like a wild cowboy, and wrestles it down as they shoot a sedative up the nose. They they can do blood work, check for diseases, etc. Interesting work. He really enjoys it.

Speaking of cowboys, with all of the hauling water, hauling wood, and wrestling hay bales I have been doing, I'm missing MY cowboy as well! He should be home in a day or two though.

Happy April everyone! Summer is on its way! What are you most looking forward to?