Living the cottage life, Alaskan style!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Here comes Peter Cottontail,
hopping down the bunny trail....
How many people still sing this song to your children?
I miss the days when my children were little and I got to get up at the crack of dawn to hide eggs and wait in anticipation for their smiling faces to peak out of their bedrooms. 
Today we wait for grandchildren to arrive.
The plastic eggs will be hid outside, my ex-husband and his wife and parents of our daughter-in-law will join us.
We'll have too much food and it'll be chaotic.
This is Easter at our place.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Could it be.... the Sun?

It doesn't take much to get us excited.  Take the sun.  A little bit of sunshine goes a long way when you live in Alaska!  It doesn't matter if it's summer, winter, fall, or spring. We see it, and we have to take a picture of it!

We're always happy to see the sun.... but not so much the dust that you see when the sun decides to shine....  or the little fingerprints...or the piles of dog hair that have found some special place to rest.

It's hard to describe how we feel when we see the sun peaking through the clouds.  It's.... it's like the frosting on the cake.... being on the receiving end of a great big smooch from my grandson.... seeing the sweet smile of my grandaughters....

As you can see, it doesn't take much to get us excited.... A ray of sun here, a ray of sun there.
You might think, "how sad for them...." but look at the joy a little sunshine brings us!  It's the silver lining in an otherwise dark and dreary day! 
It's raining today, but at least it isn't snowing. Maybe the sun will come out tomorrow.  

Friday, March 29, 2013

I Wish You Enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the
final good-bye.

author unknown

I just love that poem. I keep it handy where I can read it from time to time to keep my life in perspective.

Today I'm grateful for my husband. Here's a man who would do literally anything for me or my kids. He has accepted my children as his own and loves them unconditionally. When the kids are going through difficult times, it's often Mike who suggests we offer support to them. He's never tried to talk me out of any of my hair brain ideas when it comes to the kids but embraces the idea and helps make it happen.

Today I'm grateful that my sweet husband came into my life.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our Home is No Longer Our Home

Remember when we were raising young kids?  Our house was usually chaotic.  Toys everywhere.  Art work hanging on the fridge.  Color crayon "art" on the walls.  Kids were running rampant.  Not to mention clothes strewn everywhere, especially if there were girls involved.

Then, the kids grow up.  Move out.  Get a place of their own.  Get married.  Have their own kids. 

Meanwhile, we retire and settle in for our next adventure whatever that might be.  Some times that involves traveling, crafting, gardening, and other hobbies.     

This is our life now.  The chaos.  The new trend is to babysit grandkids.  That's what we do.  It started out with getting our first grandchild through the new born stage, where day care was most expensive.  Then came our second grandchild.... and our third... and five years later, we're still at it. 

And that's okay.  I've come to accept that this is where we're supposed to be, and this is what we're supposed to be doing.  Right now at this particular time.  I don't know what else God has in store for us, but I have confidence that are services here will be completed in the near future so we can go on with OUR life. 

Besides being exhausting work and not having much of a life for ten hours a day, our home is no longer our own.  We have toys everywhere.  Chaos everywhere.  With two grandaughters (age 3 and 4), we have several wardrobe changes a day.  Art work?  Yep, can't see the fridge or the walls most of the time because of all the pictures that have been colored or painted and presented to us. 

The grandkids don't seem to like how we decorate and they take every opportunity to switch things around for us. 

We have craft projects hanging from every knob or nail the kids can reach. 

There's forts.  Babies lined up in a row.  Stairs become staging areas for babies.

Yep.... we lost our nice, quiet, home five years ago when we started watching grandbabies....  Instead of spending our days enjoying the quiet of doing nothing or possibly playing cards or gardening or having lunch with friends, we now change diapers, fix meals, clean up messes, do craft projects, change more diapers, make more meals, make more forts, do more projects, and clean up more messes. 

But the joy we get seeing our grandkids every day almost makes up for all it.  The rest comes from the hugs and smiles we receive. 
I'm not saying that I don't long for those days when our life will become much simpler.... when I don't have to wash tongue prints, lips, and fingerprints off the windows every week.... or move dolls that have taken over the couch so I can sit down.... or when I can go out to lunch instead of fixing lunch. 

Yes, I do long for the days when our home and our life becomes our own again.  But it's not time yet....

For now, I have a lunch to make! 


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Memories

When I was little.... probably 7 years old.... I heard the Easter Bunny....  I didn't see him, but I heard him!  I remember how excited I was, but I didn't get out of bed.  I was sleeping with my mom at the time, as our dad was in the Veteran's Hospital.  We lived in an older home and my mom had a great, big kitchen cabinet.  I'm pretty certain I heard the Easter Bunny hop from the top of the refrigerator down to the kitchen cabinet.  I'm 100% certain. 

Now, I know.... there is no such thing as an Easter Bunny, but I will never ever forget the sound, the excitement, the joy I felt that night.  I guess that's why today, I still believe.  I believe in the Easter Bunny, in Santa, in the Tooth Fairy.  Because you just never know....


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons

When Sur la Table gives you lemons.... There's something about lemons.  Maybe it's their color.  Yellow.  Sunny.  Bright.  But when I saw these lemon plates on the Sur la Table website, I knew I had to have them.  Why?  Because I'm a plate junky.  There, I said it.  I love plates!  They are my weakness.  I would have a set for every occasion and holiday if I could.  I usually buy a set of four salad/dessert plates so it's not too bad.... but some times I just have to splurge and buy dinner plates too. 

Then, when I saw this lemon background for my blog, I knew I had to use it!  For now, anyway.  It's cheery and bright and will get me through winter and into summer. 

Aren't these plates yummy?


Monday, March 25, 2013

Is it Spring Yet?

Okay, so right now all I can think of is Spring.  Spring.  Spring.  Spring.  Spring is that hope that Summer will come next and maybe, just maybe, this year it'll be a nice one.  Here's some of my winter pictures from this year. 
I love this picture. It looks like a yard of cotton, doesn't it?  Snow had pretty much melted except for the big piles where it had been piled from shoveling so one sunny, brisk 21 degree day, we went outside and started breaking the piles down and scattering it all over the yard!  Clearly we had nothing better to do that day!
One day, the grandkids wanted to go sledding so my hubby took the snowblower to the back yard and made a figure 8.  This cleaned up enough snow and we had a trail to pull them on their sled.  They had so much fun!

Ugh.  Snow.  Snow.  And more snow.  There's always something to shovel! But it sure is pretty....

Right after Thanksgiving, my husband hangs clear lights in the front yard.  I love how it looks with all the snow.    Isn't it pretty?

I can almost see myself sitting here, sipping a nice cup of tea, reading a good book.  Well, maybe this summer....

Ahhhhh, I love my bridge.  It's just a bridge, over a dry creek bed.  Nice. 

Yep, almost time to light a fire in the fire pit... Well, soon....

But it's not Spring yet.  We thought it was a couple weeks ago when the sun came out and the temps dipped up to 21 degrees.  Snow was melting pretty fast.  I even saw some buds on my shrubs! 

Then.... two Winter Advisories brought about 8" of new snow.  Bummer.  And earlier this week it was back down to 8 degrees.  Again... a real bummer. 

It's raining today and we're supposed to have rain mixed with snow all week.  Maybe it'll rain hard enough that all our snow melts and we can have Spring.   


Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Tree That Lives On and On and On

A couple years ago, I bought a cute 4' white tree at Christmas time.  My idea was to decorate it for the grandkids.... (who were 3, 2, and 1 at the time) it would be their tree to decorate, touch, rearrange, whatever, and hopefully these little hands would leave the big tree alone.  So we labeled it our Gingerbread Tree.... and all the ornaments and decorations were of sugar-origin whether boughten ornaments or made.  Cupcakes, cookies, candy.  I strung white yogurt coated pretzels with pretty red twine and candy necklaces too.  The kids loved it.  It's so beautiful with the lights turned on!

This year I decided to leave the tree up after Christmas and it would become our Heart Tree.  Babysitting the grandkids 40 hours a week gives us plenty of time to do crafts and this would be the perfect theme.  Hearts.  The kids loved being creative and were proud to hang their heart ornaments.  I cut out hearts of various sizes and they scavaged through my craft box for buttons, stickers, ribbons, lace, glitter, and anything else they thought would work. 

Well.... shortly after Valentines Day, we were ready to take the tree down and I thought.... why not leave it up all year and make it our theme tree...?  But it was too early for Easter ornaments, so I headed to our Joann's Store and bought an armload of silk flowers, then proceeded to take them apart and coated the tree with beautiful silk flowers stuffed in every nook and cranny.  The kids loved showing the tree off when someone came to visit and often asked to turn the lights on so it really shown. 

Our craft project for the last couple weeks has been making Easter decorations to hang.  It's been a fun time and I must add, our tree never looked lovelier! 

I haven't decided what our theme will be after Easter....  Summer... but that would involve flowers again.  Alaska?  That could be an interesting tree filled with ornaments of Alaska....  Maybe birds.  I love collecting birds and have lots around the house.  Yea, I think that's what we'll do.  Birds.  Nests.  Feathers.  What do you think?


Saturday, March 23, 2013

What's in it?

As I've gotten older, and more wiser.... I tend to take better care of what I put in my body.  Okay, it doesn't hurt that some of it is because of doctor's orders.... like flaxseed for extreme dry eyes or vitamin D because of sun deprivation here in Alaska or less sugar because of high glucose levels.  Maybe that's what started it.  But I am more conscience now of what I eat, how it's grown, where it's grown, and how it's prepared.

But my latest journey for a better life is to check ingredients.  I try to buy organic but it's quite expensive where I live and we don't have the luxury of farmer's markets.  I do grow vegies in the summer but because of our weather, we're restricted to cold weather crops--lettuces, kale, spinach, chard, peas, etc. Growing our own salad ingredients is a great way to know what's going into our body, and knowing that it's pesticide free.  But because gardening can be very challenging here, every year I say "this is the last year for gardening," but then spring rolls around and next thing you know, I've got lettuce, chard, and peas planted!   

Anyway, growing my own leafy vegies is one way I can keep track of what we put in our mouths.  The other is to check the ingredient list which hasn't become an automatic thing for me yet.  I just assume.... because we are mindful of what we eat and why I choose the products I do.... that it's good for us.  But yesterday, as I was putting my Yoplait No Fat yogurt into my grocery cart, a new yogurt caught my eye.  Liberte. 

I thought what an odd name for a yogurt.... But the coconut flavor ingrigued me so I picked it up and by some miracle, I turned the container around to look at the list of ingredients.  Now, note, I have NEVER done this to Yoplait yogurt.  Like I said, I just assume that what I choose to buy at the grocery store is bought because it's best for my body.  In this case, it was because of the "no fat" content. So now I pick up the Yoplait and turn it around to look at the nutritional value and list of ingredients.  This is what I found:
Look at the list of ingredients in Yoplait, most of which I have no idea what they are!  This simply is not acceptable any longer.  The list for Liberte is simple:  whole milk and cream, sugar, coconut and a handful of other somewhat familiar ingredients.  The question is.... will I trade the "no fat" content for 13 grams of fat now....?  Maybe once in a while it won't hurt me...?  Will I trade the higher carb content? Possibly.  Liberte yogurt is THE BEST yogurt I have ever eaten in my life. It is so smooth, and creamy, and yummy it just caresses my mouth with the better things in life. Yes, once in awhile won't hurt me....  After all the list of ingredients IS better....