Saturday, May 30, 2009


Do you ever try to do too much? Carry too many things and find that they're all dropping? I was watching Mowgli try to carry a stack of treasures not long ago. They were just too much for him. He'd almost get them all situated and then they'd all fall. Finally I suggested that I help by taking one or two from the stack. Miraculously that solved the consisent dropping problem.
I've been reflecting on that and do you know what? I do that sometimes. OK lots of times. I have so many things that I treasure that I want to hold close to me and do. Many more things than I can possibly accomplish. As I struggle to do them all I find I manage to accomplish exactly nothing. I guess I figure if I drop them I can pick them up again--just like the tenacious Mowg.
Hmm maybe it would be ok to let one or two just stay were they are or even let someone else carry them. A shorter stack would be easier to carry. In light of that I'm going to take the next day or two off from blogging. So have a happy weekend and I'll be back Tuesday.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Favorite "Alaska" Books

A little introduction. I'm told regularly that I don't know what "favorite" or "best" truly means as I can't narrow things down to just one. So here is my list. They are my favorites by my definition. Hope you enjoy them and if you have any to add please feel free! Thanks.

Childrens Books

Picture Books

Lucky Hares and Itchy Bears by Susan Ewing and Evon Zerbetz
This is a fun collection of poems about animals. They accurately describe the animals, the rhyming is fun. The illustrations are fantastic woodcuts--lots of color and detail. You'll see lots of Evon Zerbetz in this list. Not only is she an Alaskan artist--she manages to do some awesome books.

Little Red Snapperhood: A Fishy Fairy Tale by Neal W. Gilbertsen and Evon Zerbetz
Fun retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with a red snapper as the main character. Lots of fun in the illustrations and the rhyming. In the end everyone becomes friends instead and shares an octu-pie. Again lots of color and detail--puns in the illustrations abound.

Ten Rowdy Ravens by Susan Ewing and Evon Zerbetz
This is a fun Raven counting book with fun facts at the end (including a recipe--not to make with ravens) I love the counting, the illustrations, the good information in a very fun format.

Alaska's Three Pigs by Arlene Laverde
This has become a favorite. Illustrations are fun lots of "YAM" cans in them. We have a rotting old cabin, a house built of willows and an igloo for houses. The brothers come north to homestead and grow big cabbages. In the end the bear (not the wolf) gets taken to where he will not thaw out for a very long time.

Blueberry Shoe by Ann Dixon and Evon Zerbetz
This is a fun story of what happens to a little one's shoe when it gets lost while blueberry picking. Simple illustrations and story line with lots of animals.

Berry Magic by Teri Sloat and Betty Huffmon

Fun story about how berries came to be. I love the berries and dolls in the illustrations.

O Is for Orca: An Alphabet Book by Andrea Helman and Art Wolfe

Not exactly an "Alaska" book, but this list wouldn't be complete without an alphabet book. So far highest on my list of alphabet books with a Northwest theme. Lots of coastal animals and even a totem in the background of one of them so it has the Alaskan flair to it. (OK Northwest!)

The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish: Based on a True Story by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Beth Krommes

You may have noticed that I like woodcuts quite a lot. This is illustrated with scratch board art that gives it a similar feel. It's based on a true story of a boat getting stuck in the Arctic in 1913. It's a bit on the long side for tiny ones, but it's well told and illustrated.

Goodbye, My Island by Jean Rogers and Rie Munoz
This is an older kids book. I like it because it documents the last time a little girl lives on King Island (in the 60's I believe). Not the most thrilling read, but interesting.


The Life Cycle of a Salmon by Bobbie Kalman and Rebecca Sjonger
Growing up I can't tell you the number of time I learned the life cycle of the salmon--it's nostalgia for me what can I say? Darn interesting too. Lots of great photography. This is a children's book.

Alaska: A Land in Motion by Nancy Warren Ferrell

There's no picture on Amazon, but it's a great encyclopedia type book about Alaska. Accessible and informative. This is another children's level book, but fun for those of us who don't have a lot of time as well.

Adult this and that

Cooking Alaskan by Alaskans
A cookbook that includes things you'll be delighted to know and some things you'd rather skip. I love this book. I love flipping through it just for fun. Every animal and many plants that are available in Alaska are covered. Some you'd never dream of eating, some that might be intriguing to try. My favorite to read is a recipe for Stinky Fish--you bury fish heads--it's gross trust me. My favorite to use is the Availability Bread where you use what you have in a vegetable bread. There's Bachelor Bannock too where measurements are based on the size of your hand. I just love the flavor that it has of truly Alaskana. There are things you'd need to know if you were homesteading, hunting, etc. The recipes were gathered from an amazing number of sources.

Alaska Sourdough by Ruth Allman

This is all about sourdough. ALL about it. It was written (it's not "typeset" but truly written). It's another fun to read cookbook that's quite useful.

Ocean Treasure: Commericial Fishing in Alaska (Teacher Resources) (Teacher Resources) by Terry Johnson

This is hands down the best book about fish and commercial fishing that I have ever seen. It has great illustrations of the different types of boats and gear. It has great illustrations and pictures of all types of fish that are harvested in Alaskan waters. I can't say enough good about this book. Every single kid that has ever come into my house and discovered it can't get enough of it. It gets requested on return trips. It's easy to understand on a pictoral level and there's lots of good written info as well. This is NOT written for children, but they love it.

A Schoolteacher in Old Alaska: The Story of Hannah Breece by Hannah Breece
This is on my all time favorite list/shelf. This is a true story/journal. Authentic attitudes of the teacher, great writing, interesting adventures. I just love it. I highly recomment this one if you're looking for a good read.

The Inside Passage to Alaska by Art Wolfe

This is probably my favorite "Coffee Table" book. Art Wolfe is an amazing photographer and in this book you get all kinds of vantage points, up close at a dragonfly to distant dots of islands. You get animals, plants, the influence of people, totems, sunshine and fog. It really nicely covers the gamut. If you want to "see" cheaply this is the book will show you.

You made it! That's all there is. There isn't anymore.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


No one at our house is immune to the disease of needing to read. It is a need and a disease.
I didn't set up the picture above--it was "captured"--but you probably knew that. :)

Here's a list of some of our favorites that might be lesser known:
(I've "linked" you to Amazon so you can see the art if you're interested or even curious)

Slow Train to Oxmox by Kurt Cyrus
Mowgli loves the train and all the messy things the train gets into and my favorite line is “Young Man, you’re a genius.” “Actually, I’m a mechanical engineer”. How can you not love something like that?!

Blueberries for Sal (Picture Puffins) by Robert McCloskey
("Kerplink, Kerplank, Kerpluk" go those blue berries)
I didn't think this book was lesser known, but in talking with other moms, many haven't heard of it, so I'm sharing it. I love that it's in Maine, there's blueberries, bears and kids. I love the blue ink illustrations. I especially love the end pages of the canning at home. Mowgli loves (and calls it) the kerplink, kerplunk book.

Halloween Pie by Michael O. Tunnell and Kevin O'Malley
I don't love the art in this book, but we get a lot of mileage out “Give me some Pie!” A witch bakes a pie and places a spell on it so only SHE can eat it. The ghouls, goblins, etc., from the graveyard come and eat it. They become ingredients for the pie and are released in the steam when the new pie is found. Lots of fun to read aloud and there's a pumpkin pie recipe at the end.

Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell and Ted Rand

This book is about a little girl that gets "mailed" to her grandma since her parents can't afford to send her by train. Ted Rand illustrated this one with watercolor (I think) and I have loved it since I first saw it. Imagine my delight when it became a repeat favorite of my kidlin.

Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild! by Mem Fox and Marla Frazee
Sometimes things happen just like that–milk gets spilled, pillows are emptied of the feathers, Mom’s even yell sometimes even though they don’t want to. Great reminder for parents that forgiveness and frustration are part of parenting and being a kid too.

The Happy Hedgehog Band by Martin Waddell and Jill Barton
Lots of fun noise making–rat-a-tat-tat and everyone in the forest gets involved in the humming and drumming. Oh and "the dog that was lost in the woods just danced."

Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin
I’ve loved this one forever and for some reason Mowgli picked it up out of our home library and loves it too. It might be the ink drawings that show up the autumn trees in their leafless state. It might be that there's a recipe for Cranberry bread at the back. It might be that justice is served by the smelly Mr. Whiskers (of whom Grandmother doesn't approve). It might also be that a measure of mercy is expressed by the same Mr. Whiskers. It might be too that it's set in Maine on a cranberry farm. :)

Counting Our Way to Maine by Maggie Smith
Fantastic counting book forward (and backward if you want) to 20. First they pack one baby–and that is SO funny! Then it goes the distance to Maine and through their vacation, counting lobster traps, bug bites, clams, slugs on the porch, blueberry pies, boats, etc. I love the illustrations and activities that are counted. In any case, it's very fun. I must make a note here now that you might have noticed a number of "Maine" books. One of my dreams in life is to travel to Maine, as it sounds like where I grew up with less rain. It's a completely romantic notion, but what is life without romance?

Bunny's Numbers by Dick McCue and Lisa McCue
A fun count to 10 with garden produce: watermelon, tomatos, carrots, even daffodils. Good garden counting fun in rhyme. I love the art in it as well.

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman and Marla Frazee
We love this book on so many levels. The art work is fantastic (and very supportive of the text), the rhyming fun. The specific foods each child will eat get combined into a wonderful one meal for the whole family. Happy Birthday Mom! You see the home progress from a family with one child to a family with 7. More laundry, more mess. It's just fun--Oh and Mrs. Peters plays the cello--when she can. :) Did I mention that I want to live in thier house? At least in theory.

The Duchess Bakes a Cake by Virginia Kahl
This one is a fun rhyming book, "lovely light lucious delectable cake" The dutchess takes time out from reading and writing to bake--how can you not like that? It's one I might not have pulled off a shelf, but someone down the street was giving them away and we couldn't resist. Such delightful fun for all of us. She bakes a cake and gets stuck up on top of it and they have to figure out a way to get her down.

This is just a fun exchange of socks for food that comes full circle. A poor man and his wife tire of just turnips for supper. They figure out a way to trade what little they do have for some cheese and milk. In the end they get back what they've traded.

Block City by Rovert Louis Stevenson illustrated by Ashley Wolff (sorry no amazon link)
Little man loves this "Town by the sea" book. Ashley Wolff does a fantastic job of illustrating it.

Barn Dance! (Reading Rainbow) by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, and Ted Rand
Some of the rhythm of this book catches me short every time, but on the whole very fun to read aloud. Lots of room of vocal acting. :) (What is that really called?!)

Are you still with me? That's all for now! Some other day I may give you a list of our (or is it MY?) favorite Alaska Books.

What are some of your favorite picture books?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gratitude Alphabet

A Thankful Alphabet
(a suggestion from The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule)

A Ants being "chased" by Bahgera across the sidewalk
B Bahgera
C Cats in the yard in the morning
D Drinks like lemonade
E Eggs
F Food--Mowgli announced as he was giving Bahgera some of his "taco" (quesadilla) that
"I'm giving her the perfect food!"
G Garden -with growing plants
H Hot showers
I Imaginary friends and their revolving visits. The King and Isabella being the latest addition.
J Jingle bell dancing shoes--my answer to a request for blue dancing shoes and a wish (mine)
for tap shoes.
K Kind acts
L Laughter
M Mowgli and Mona Lisa smile that I get from the baby when I put her back to bed in the
middle of the night
N Nests that birds make and then destroy
O Opening of seasons
P Presents in the form of a book and fabric (with presents and cake and lemonade on it!)
Q Quilts to make and for warmth
R Rain that comes in earnest--not just a flash. Reading Stories
S Spring flowers and Sewing Machine
T Time with the darling man I married
U Up. Bahgera's delight at looking up at the sky and trees--her tiny pointing finger.
V Very excited Mowgli when he notices that the garden plants are growing (every day!)
W Willingness of friends to share their lives.
X eXcited children welcoming their Daddy home
Y You for reading my blog
Z ZZZZZZZ for time to sleep each night.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What to do with dandelions

Find one at the absolute outer limit of your reach
Ta da! GOT IT!
Share it with your closest dear one.
Here you go
If declined--or if you really didn't mean "share" in the physical sense,
just the visual sense--begin to study--don't forget to shred.

Now you know what to do with dandelions
Model: Bahgera

Monday, May 25, 2009

Granny and Grandad

Here's for Granny and Grandad:

Sunday, May 24, 2009


We recently went to see Thomas and go for a ride. Tiger's trying to get Mowgli to stand closer the Thomas in this picture.

Riding in the train

With our friend

Mowgli as a magician's assistant

He was so excited to be an assistant he ran as fast as he could to the front. The magician said, "Wow I usually don't get such enthusiastic volunteer's." Once he got there he was absolutely sober faced.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


One day Mowgli decided he wanted
a haircut like Dad's.
(just one week after getting a very nice haircut from Aunt C)
So Dad obliged:

The Final product. He's not sad about the cut--only the shower he's being required to take.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Da kids

A favorite pasttime is singing: No the boots don't fit, but you tell him he can't wear them. I'm not going to.

Mom this one's for you--it's not a dress on her, but I got her in it just in time for it to be a shirt--do you recognize it?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

For Mom

Thanks Mom, for giving and showing me life.
My birthday wouldn't be complete without letting you know. I love you!

These are for you. I know they're you're favorite
(Did you know they don't die here in the sunshine land?
They close at night and re-open in the morning for days!)

PS: Did you notice? EYES! :)


The boys by the train--aren't those wheels HUGE?!

Goodbye Train!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


It has come to my attention that there are some of you that would like to leave comments but don't have the "accounts" listed. Since I WANT your comments I hope this will help:

One of the "Comment as" items listed is "Anonymous" If you click on this it should let you post after you type in some funky word. I've had to type the funky word in a couple of times and I don't know what the deal is, but there you have it. So please give it a try--it's nice to know that people are reading. Thanks! C


So the next few days I'll post pictures to catch you up on our adventures.

Exciting news first: Here is a regularly eaten item that is a new love: "Taco's" or quesadilla's. I can't tell you how fun it is to go somewhere and have EVERYONE eat the picnic lunch. It's beyond describing.

Mowgli loved fishing. He loved dragging the line in and snarling it like crazy. Dad exercised incredible patience in untangling or just cutting the line when necessary. :)

So Bahgera wasn't as impressed, but she let me know that if she was let out of her chair she would have had a lot more fun. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

For Liz

As you can see--Computer's FIXED! :)

So Liz asked for pics of what I've been making of late--even if it's in progress. So they are:

First a flip doll--that I clearly messed up and so is IN PROGRESS. Next time you see it it will have legs and arms on the correct side of the body.

Next Several skirts for my nieces:

The first one I made--so far the BEST

Three more. The one on the far right is from a dress my sister gave me. I'm very pleased with it. The other two, well let's just say they'll make fun play skirts.

Lest you think I've forgetten my nephew's they have something coming too (all the kids did just get a new baby sister after all) A velcro pouch to put pokemon cards in and a decoder with instructions to write secret messages. I didn't photograph them, but trust me they're fun.


Saturday, May 16, 2009


I know it's been a while. I'm not sure if we're back in business yet or not. Only time will tell. I still don't know if we'll be able to recover the drives that I use for downloading pics so it'll just be words for a bit.
We've had so much fun of late. A whole week with our Dad. It included: fishing, seeing an old steam train that stopped here--very last minute, but perfect fun--, rearranging so we our front room is more of a kid area and the library more of a Mom can make a mess and close the door area. Speaking of that there was some sewing done as well. I don't know what's come over me, but I can't seem to get enough. I've even made a few little girl skirts that turned out really cute. I never thought I'd be making clothes, but here I go. Some yard clean up and garden planting. We have another week or so before danger of frost is past, but our peas are up about and inch and radishes are growing well. It's almost time for the first cutting of rhubarb. Yippee! A new little one joined my sister's family and she's a doll. We're excited to meet her once all evidence of illness is past us. Yeah, we've had some more sickness around here.

Enough of the "update" Now for a little fishing story. We'd been fishing for a little while and I wasn't feeling good and the clouds were starting to look threatening so the grownups of the clan decided it was time to call it a day. We'd just seen the guys down the shoreline catch a nice fish, but it was time to go. Well the oldest child of the clan was not pleased by this choice. Most of the way home and even several time once he was in bed we heard, "No, a storm is not coming! We need to catch a fish, we need to catch a fish, we need to catch a fish." So for a first time really fishing we have ourselves a little fisherman. Have a wonderful Day!