Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Making Things Easier.


Just a couple things I thought I'd share that may help make day-to-day life simpler for you too....





::  Read on a blog somewhere about tips for getting kids to help around the house.  What stuck with me the most was it's best to start when they are young and it's still fun.  The best practical tip that I could use?  Put your dishes in a low cupboard/shelf where they can help by taking them out for meal time and putting them away when they are clean.  Ever helped me switch some things around in the kitchen a couple days ago, and I have to say, I think it's brilliant.  As long as you have dishes that won't bring you to tears if one or two break. 

:: Second, I wouldn't say that I have enjoyed cooking for quite a while now.  One of the reasons being lack of sleep and a frazzled brain, another being that more often than not, my meal is greeted with a "I don't want to eat that" rather than a smile.  Anyway, I latched onto this series by a gal that I get a kick out of following.  It may seem a little silly to make such a big deal out of simple things like cooking and grocery shopping, but I really think she's onto something here.  I am not naturally an organized person (although I believe my resume says otherwise).  I'm working on it though.  Check it out -- I'm trying it and can honestly say that I think it's pretty great.  The Google calendar clears a little space in my brain, and the ZipList recipe clipper and list maker are definitely clever tools.  By using them I know that I have at least most of the ingredients I need for the recipes I put on my calendar.  Thanks, Edie :)

 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Technology Shabbats.


I had to share this article because it's something I think about a lot.  Totally has inspired me to try harder .... although not quite this hard. ;)

Read the article here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig.

The Casarina Villas crew we left behind. 
The trip home.




The welcoming crew; FULL of hugs :)



The trip home went very smooth.  One little hiccup with a hotel reservation and shuttle in Fort Lauderdale, but other than that, smooth.  Ever and Hayden were the cutest thing I've ever seen at the Anchorage airport.  They had a 20-foot run up to each other shouting, "Ever!" "Hayden!" and ending in a giant hug.

We were home in Gakona by 4:00 the next day, snow flurries completing the stark contrast in environments from 48 hours ago.  The house was so welcoming, complete with some homebaked cookies from a friend.  We had an issue in the water room immediately, but Bry and his Dad had it repaired by nighttime.  True Macgyver's.

So much to be thankful for.  More than anything, thankful for a home we long to return to.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Passionfruit + Pineapple Cake/Custard.

Passionfruit are a relatively new fruit to the island here.  They smell incredible.  I found this recipe online and substituted it to make it work for what we had.  It was lovely ...


Our Crooked Island version:

1 cup crushed pineapple
Almost 1 cup granulated sugar
Little over 1/2 cup flour
4 eggs
4-5 passionfruit

Mix it all up.  Bake in a greased, 9-inch round pan at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
P.S. Coconuts abound here, but I was too lazy to go acquire one.  Would probably be a nice addition though.


The kids and I went with our friend Marina to a local farm to get passionfruit and whatever else they had available (papaya)... Here are some snaps:


:Tell & Marina:

:Joseph by the passionfruit vine:

:Ever exploring the farm with Joseph:

:Leaf of Life plant.  The leaves are supposedly good for asthma.:

:Inside of a passionfruit from Google:

:Kids in front of a bitty papaya tree:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fishin'.

The Papa's took the two older kids out hand-line fishing in the boat.  A special trip for them as our days wind down and before the boat needs put away for good.  They caught two fish and had a good ole' time.


After putting in their Papa time, they came back to drop off the kids and pick up Pete and Ben to do some diving.  They came home with plenty of fish and some lobster.  Bry's showing off a permit he speared below.
I need never fear of starving as long as I stay close to this guy.  He took me snorkeling and dove down and came up with a lobster and a mutton snapper on the same spear!  The snorkeling was awesome.  An incredibly large reef out by the lighthouse.  Thousands of fish, countless different kinds.  A real underwater metropolis is what it reminded me of.  No sharks, no barracudas.  Some jellyfish, but we tried to ignore them.  I only got one little zap on my calf that's already gone.  I'm so grateful that we got to go, makes me excited for when the kids get old enough and we can go more together...

P.S.  Bry's nasty Caribbean Itch is nearly gone, thank goodness :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

I took my shark for a walk today...

and she led us to the zoo.

But no, seriously.  The big, Caribbean blue swimming pool we go to every day right out front is usually spotless.  But this morning a big, dark shadow was moving rapidly through it.  
Ever said, "It's a sting ray." 
I thought, "Hmm... don't think so."
It was about the size of a dolphin, so we followed it up the beach.  I was secretly hoping to see the friendly dolphin fin surface, but it never did.  It was so awesome watching it swim so close to the beach though, and it led us up to where I usually go to turtle watch.  Sure enough, I got to see lots of turtles, the shark tale once, and even a ray.  The funniest part was when I saw a little shadow dart away from the shark towards the beach.  I walked over to see the cutest little turtle.  It was so close and the water is so clear, I could see the design on it's shell.  
And then I was in a pickle.  
I've really been wanting to catch a turtle to show the kids.  It's so fun to see them up close.  The turtle was only about 3 feet out into the water.  But then there was the shark about 10 feet from that.  And then there were the kids, getting further and further away as I followed the little turtle.  It eventually swam deeper into the water though.  And our turtle studies will have to wait for another day...

The morning turned out to be one of my most fun and memorable of this trip with the kids.  I didn't take a single picture.  Sometimes I think we have the most fun when we're just doing it and not trying to capture it.  We played in the surf, watched for turtles to poke their heads up, and played on the giant sand slides that the tide had made just for them.  Blessed, blessed days these are.



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A lazy photo post.

I didn't take the time to go through and pick out exactly the best photo representations of the past week or so, because if I needed that much time to post this, I wouldn't have posted anything.  So, I just tried to pick through the tiny thumbnails and remember some goodies.  This is what I came up with:
Morning Salt Pond
Crooked Island Grave.  Stark and beautiful.

Loving that smile, loving that laugh.  The tender words she somehow knows to say at the right time.

Banana boatin'.  That's Bmen bringing up the rear.  I took a few rides too.  The most good ole' fashioned fun I've had in a looong time.  These were no scenic tours.  It was like riding a wet, slippery bronco that was doing its best to buck you off.

Kramer kids found and picked up (!) a teensy little octopus for the kids to observe.  Ever even got to touch it.  My first time seeing one down here.

Ever releasing it back into the Big Blue with Katelyn and Sam.

Mr. Asher turned the big 1 this week.  Love this picture where all the vultures come in for cake.  A special birthday for such a special little guy.

Taken just this morning.  Bmen's going to be mad at me for posting it, but isn't it wild?!?  It covers most of Bry's torso and the lower part of his legs.  The latest diagnosis is an allergic reaction to some jellyfish stings.  Yikes.  Definitely the worst run-in with the perils of the sea that he's encountered.  A google search came up with the term 'Caribbean Itch' -- seems fitting.  He has seen the local nurse and is following her orders, hopefully will clear up in a matter of days.
That's it for now.  Adios!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ta-Da!

Miraculously, the caterpillar that Ever begged us to let her keep on a bike ride a week and a half ago, actually built a cocoon.  AND the cocoon actually hatched a little over a week later.  It was incredible.  What fun....




Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A little more birthday.

We had a lot of fun on Ever's birthday.  The morning was spent baking, cooking, and for Bmen, diving for lobster.  Evidence below shows he was successful:

This year's cake was a starfish and we had a picnic right by the houses here.  Ever requested "brown snapper" (friend fish) and her Papa was happy to oblige.  It was lovely, even if a bit windy, and with a few more people than we originally expected.  That's what happens when you invite the one lady that serves lunch on an island.  Her customers still need their lunch ;)
It was busy and I didn't get to spend as much time with Ever as I usually would, but she was doted on plenty by her Crooked Island friends and family.  I know she felt loved and at one point I walked by her as she walked around muttering, "I am queen, I am queen."  This girl.... I could write a whole post on the things I love most about her, but I think I'll save it for her memory book.  All I can say is she truly does make life so much more beautiful.  Such a heart, a special soul.  I feel so lucky to have her.



She shares her birthday with a good friend from Landrail, Marina.  I'm so glad she came over and they could celebrate together.  Bry got out the wake board and they had some fun right out front here.  Was so fun to watch, and tempting to try sometime.  

 Ever and Rowan were my frosting helpers.  They have had so much fun pal-ing around here.  A kids' -- and parent's -- heaven.  Sand, sun, playmates.  They have fun, even with tears and little spats interspersed.


Technically this isn't a birthday picture, but these flamingoes fly over our house every single morning and I finally caught them with my camera!  Many times I would see them when I didn't have it, and then there were days when I carried it around for hours to somehow miss them.  Was so excited to finally get a picture yesterday... This is the first trip I've seen them so often and so near.  Gorgeous.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Four.

"Do I look bigger today, Mama?  Now that I'm four, do I look bigger?"
Oh boy, do you ever my girl.

More notes and party pictures soon ... xo

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Vacation Reads.

I love vacation for a lot of reasons of course, but one is that I take more time to read.  
**
For the first time I'm venturing into e-reading, which I can't say I'm crazy about.  I love how accessible the books are, but despise needing the computer to read.  One of my New Year's Resolutions is to read the Bible in its entirety during 2013 and I'm using Glo on the computer to do that.  Mainly because I don't like the paper version of the Book that I brought along.  
**
Ever and I are on the last chapter of Peter Pan and, if I'm honest, I've probably enjoyed it more than her.  But I'm impressed she has hung in there until the end :)
**
Condoleezza's book, although immensely enlightening for me, is a slow read.  But I'm enjoying it and plan to plod along through it.
**
The Forgotten Garden was good, although I definitely enjoyed the first half more than the latter.
**
Just started The Old Man and the Harley and loving it.  Man, how the world has changed in less than 100 years.  Really get's my mind reeling....
**
The last book I'm working on is Plunge, an e-book written by some Crooked Islanders down here.  Very interesting, and I love to read something with similar context to where I'm at.  Last year I brought down Jack London and immediately thought, "Um, no snow and ice and freezing to death, thank you."
**
Kinda missing C.S. Lewis and Hemingway which had kind-of become a ritual down here for me, but couldn't spare the room in the suitcase and I refuse to spend more money on e-books until I finish what I've already started ;)
My book list for when I get back to USPS/Amazon shipping zone is growing daily .... too many books, not enough time...

And what is a post without a picture of one of the children?  Title of this one:  
"License and registration, please."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mid-way Update.

::Tell "rinsing" Grampa off::

::Family::

::Chuck & Bry out hunting lobster and brown snapper.  I got to "keep up" with the boat.  A little chilly :)  ::

::Tell preferred Santa from afar.  Ever saddled right up to tell him she only had 2 dolls::

::Lucky ducks with Grama & Grampa on Christmas::


::Papa trying out Ever's butterfly net from Omi::

::The closest I've got to catching a fish down here -- would've been a nice Wahoo too, if it weren't for the sharks::

::An early birthday party for Ever before Grama & Grampa left.  Grampa fixed up quite a cake for her!::

::My jogging companions in the morning::

::a favorite of mine::

::Shell Beach lived up to it's name!  And even provided a bucket.  We missed Omi, Grama, and our Aunts -- they would've loved it::

::Christmas Eve at the fish house with good friends -- Willie, Bmen, Tell, Janette, Woody, & Jamari::

Well, it's hard to believe we are halfway through already.  So much fun has been had.  So many crying fits.  Fish have been caught.  Shells have been found.  Nature observed.  Frustration.  Joy.  Contentment.  Life ;)  You know the drill.

A couple highlights not in the pictures:

::Ever getting to hold a sweet little (although stunned) bird in her hands while it recovered from hitting the window.  So sweet.

::Finding a caterpillar and astonished to see it start to build it's cocoon that very night.  We couldn't believe it.  Will keep you posted ....

::Felt my heart flutter to see a lone dolphin swimming right by us on my niece Emory's would-be 6th birthday.  Couldn't help but think of her and whisper a "Hello, we love you."  Maybe silly of me, maybe not ....

Until next time --
xoxo