Monday, June 25, 2012

Camping tips

We just went on our first camping trip of the season and Ocoee's first camping ever. Ocoee like a true Alaskan girl took to camping like a pig to mud. She ate dirt, slept in a tent well and received her first mosquito bites.

I have been camping for a long time. In college I spent a few summers working for the girl scouts and living in a platform tent all summer-so I have lots of experience. Here are so tips I have learned.

If you are a girly girl or don't like being dirty, shower before you go. Nothing like a nice blow out to make you feel civilized in the woods. Then braid your hair- cute and out of the way. May five is pigtails braid. You will have to wash again once home since you will smell like smoke. Double lather to get all the smoke out.

Bring face wipes that don't require water. Hubby even loves these.

If you camp a lot like we do have a ziplock of essentials in pantry to toss in quickly. Ours has instant oatmeal packs, emergency packs, instant Starbucks packs, tea bags, and bars.

Same thing goes for emergency kit. Matches, band aids, Chapstick. Etc.

Bring a little luxury. Maybe some cream for coffee and tea, or a nice chocolate bar. Nice bottle of pinot works well too :)

If you are car camping bring nice full size pillows. Worth the extra space. I am going to sew some fleece pillow slips for mine this summer.

Most of our stuff is backpacking camping gear since we used to backpack often. This is still good because it takes up so little room. With a kayak, car seat and 3 dogs, space is a premium. Buy small when you can.

Bring rope to tie dogs up so they are obeying any leash laws at campgrounds but can still roam a bit.

Bring firestarters. It rains and even I it doesn't life is just easier with firestarters.

I buy bug away incense sticks. These and a fire keep most mosquitos away.

Know the good spots. Call and ask which site is best. Maybe has good shade or a bigger space. For us we look for privacy since that is the whole point of camping.

As far as baby goes the only thing we did differently than normal was her peapod was in the tent with us ( we just upgraded from an ultralight 2 person tent to a spacious 3 person). Also we used disposable diapers for camping. Eco friendly ones that don't sit in a landfill for 500 years.

Go. See. Camp.


Summer fun! Alaska beach

The beach at Kincaid park is my favorite summer destination in anchorage. Last Friday we went with some friends to celebrate the first true days of summer! Ocoee stayed up until 9:30!! She liked to play in the sand. And eat it of course.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Flash back

Today is the last day of my summer school film camp that I have been teaching for the last few weeks. We spent some time talking about "back in the day" with my students and I have to laugh at how far back my days seem to them.

This led me to look at some of my back in the day photos.

Ah, memories....nothing more embarrassing and cringe worthy like photos from almost 20 years of course I will share on the internet with everyone!

With my classmates in French class. Boy did I think I was cool. Wish I still had those shades! To this day I can conjugate verbs in French but can't speak a lick!

Really grainy but this was my favorite class-Drama. My very short acting career was in this class. That is me in the red wig and white tank top up front. Sigh, I have always wanted red hair.

Senior Prom with James this! He was in my drama class and a hilarious friend from high school! I am pretty sure I slathered body glitter from Victoria Secrets all over me for this big event! Yes Ocoee, when you grow up feel free to laugh at me :)

So there you go...

Happy Friday!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Things about you..

Ocoee sure loves her thumb!


This is for you.The last 8 plus months have gone by in a flash. I sit sometimes and scan through my iphone pictures of you just so I can remember you were once a tiny baby (well ok at 10 pounds 10 ounces not sooo tiny). You have had many phases of growing into yourself.

Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you.-Dr. Seuss.

You my little sweet potato love:

My can spot them across the room peeking out of my pocket, or hear them jangle from the other room. I bought you some toy keys but they are a pale second.

Bouncing-You are such a bouncer still....daddy thinks your going to burst out and dunk a ball from that bouncer one day!

Being held.

In the middle of the action. Can't imagine where you get that from :)

You have a strong attraction to anything potentially it a cord, scissors or just leaping without looking, you find danger everywhere. You keep us both on our toes for sure.

Ocoee, love, you are also incredibly sweet and loving. You cackle laugh often and babble up a storm. You love to crawl and just be all over us. I see you learn and change every day and I am amazed. Lately you really look into my eyes..not the baby I see you look but the deep, soul tingly, I am yours look. I know you are communicating with me, so I smile back and say, Nope....I am yours.

Love you always

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer to do list

Since I vacationed home and then quickly started teaching my film camp, my summer hasn't really started. As of this Friday my summer BEGINS!

Here is my to do list for summer fun:

Beach picnic w/Ocoee and friends
Visit the zoo-never been to Anchorage Zoo
Practice letting Ocoee feed matter how messy
Garden a little each day so it is a act of joy not a choir
Hike some more
Get my 3 workouts in
Make more homemade baby food
Bond with the chickens
Sleep in....might need a babysitter to pull this off. (do they work from 6-9 in the morning?)
Read, read, read
Camp-I mean I live in Alaska right?
Explore every cute little shop that I never have time to explore
Walk the coastal trail with Ocoee more....great light cardio
At home pedi
Get a haircut
Get rid or more crap in order to simplify my life more...constantly doing this!
Make a to do list of values I want to teach Ocoee
Love my baby and hubby more, with intensity and focus...not the hurried I love you, while rushing out the door feeling
Watch a bore tide
Look for Belugas
Frisbee golf while baby wearing-possible right?

Getting this summer going with a camping trip this weekend. Woohoo!

Also Ocoee got her Pottery Barn kids order yesterday. She got a backpack, lunchbox, cute little frozen critters to keep her lunch cool, cloth napkins, and stainless steal container. She is prepared for lunch! I know it is a little early but since she will be moving to a new daycare I wanted a good way to get all of her food to school along with all the things she needs throughout the day. We also got a new organic sheet since they were on can never have too many sheets on hand with a baby I have learned!


Daddy /Daughter photo shoot!

In honor of father's day...check out photo shoots with Ocoee....daughter and daughter session.


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Father's day weekend

We celebrated Hubby's first father's day this weekend. He did such a great job planning an amazing birthday/mother's day weekend for me I really wanted it to be special.

First, he got to sleep in and have breakfast in bed. I even made coffee which I have never done. He told me how to hand grind the coffee beans and use the french press...being a tea person this was new to me, but easy peasy.

Ocoee of course loves to snuggle with her dad...she usually has breakfast in bed with him, happily sucking down her bottle.

After a lazy morning we headed to the park to take some dad and daughter pictures. They are great. I will upload those to photos shoots with Ocoee later....once I find my cord! This was Ocoee's first ride in the ergo on a back. She is bored looking at us in the ergo and squirms around to see the world. Hopefully the back will work for hiking, if not we will have to use the kelty backpack hiker.

After the photo shoot, Hubby requested lunch at Humpy's where they have a bloody mary bar...his favorite. He enjoyed making bloody marys with all the fixings and Ocoee did some serious people watching.

The best thing about this weekend is the sun blazed every day! It was magical after a week of rain. He sky was an eye scorching blue and we enjoyed hanging around outside, with not much to do (other than process 25 copper salmon).

For dessert we came home and had yogurt parfaits on the deck. The heat brought on a once in a blue moon thunderstorm in the evening. Yep that is right, for the first time since I have been in Alaska, I heard thunder and saw lightening. Perfect end to a nice relaxing father's day weekend.

Ocooe is lucky to be blessed with a wonderful father!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Salmon. It smells like summer

Hubby went to the copper river to dipnet and brought home 25 beautiful red salmon. For those of you not from Alaska, the copper river is about a 5 hour drive from Anchorage and a world class salmon river. As Alaskan residents we can dipnet (use a net) to catch fish. This is our bounty for the year. We fish and that is the only meat we eat. We catch salmon all summer and dipnet once. Dipnetting to me is like grocery shopping. Usually we fish in the ocean or rivers for fun but Dipnetting is all about stocking up on fish.

The copper river has the first salmon runs and is famous for reds. The taste is amazing. Getting there is a challenge. After driving 5 hours the boys then paid a guide to take them on a jet boat to a rocky cliff. They climbed up on the cliff about 6 feet above the raging river and tied off using rope. This was a safety necessity since if you fell in the river it would be a deathly experience. Then they spent the next 10 hours netting salmon using huge nets.

We also have the Kenai river not too far away that you can dipnet in but he coppers seem to taste better. Yea we are salmon snobs. Back in tennessee my bro offered me some weird looking slightly pink frozen salmon that was farm raised and I tried my best not to be picky, but it is a pale imitation of the real thing.

After hubby got home from his exhausting trip he then cleaned and filleted the salmon. Some we vacuum sealed for grilled salmon, some we brined and smoked for smoked salmon and some we will can for winter use in chilis and other dishes. It is a lot of work but one weekend will have us stocked for the year. Wow it is a blessing to live in Alaska.

We will also catch halibut, cod and rockfish to eat this summer. We sometime clam which is a lot of fun but a lot of work too. We grow rhubarb, strawberries and butt loads of raspberries that we make and can jam with. We will pick blueberries and spend time shrimping and crabbing as well. The bounty of Alaska blows me away and we definitely have a connection to our food. Summer is about having a fabulous time in the great outdoors but much of that time we are stocking up on food. The winters are long and this is what Alaskans do. It makes us sound all hippie but honestly the majority of people here do the same thing along with bigger gardens and hunting.

To notch up the crunchy factor this yet we will have our own eggs from the chickens too. Feels good to be able to eat local without paying an arm ad a leg at whole foods to do so!

I'll post my process and recipes for smoked salmon soon. Also made lox this year so I'll tell all about that new experiment.



My smoked salmon process

Have hubby gather 25 fish
Have hubby clean, gut and filet fish
Make a brine in a food safe container...we used the cooler
Brine consist of Soy sauce, kosher salt, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar.....eye balled. Enough salt to float an egg.
Brine overnight-12 hours or more
Rinse and dry on racks with fan for 8-12 hours
Smoke in smoker for 6 hours
vacum seal and sigh in satisfaction that you have months of yummy smoked salmon to eat.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Baby bath soak-homemade!

Ocoee loves bath time. She has graduated from her baby bath tub that I reviewed here to her new bath tub that is inflatable and fun. I love that it fits in the regular tub we have but allows her to be safe from slipping and hitting the hard side surfaces.

When we were in Hawaii we stopped at one of my favorite stores Lush and bought their amazing bath bombs. One was called the insomnia ibot bath bomb with chamomile and lavender essential oils to help sooth, relax and promote sleep. Ocoee loved it. As a crunchy mom, I loved that the products from Lush are free of any weird things, completely organic and never tested on animals.

I was reminded of the relaxation of a good bath with essential oils when I was visiting my brother. I got out of the shower and he mentioned I smelt like lavender. He is no fan of lavender but he remember some lavender bath products I had sent my niece when she was younger.....his memory was, BOY did she sleep well. There is nothing better than a well rested kid, which means the parents get rest also!

Ocoee is a fabulous sleeper and in order to promote this to continue I want to establish a good bedtime routine. A bath will be part of the routine.

The Lush products are a special treat but I was looking for something more affordable and didn't involve shipping and handling. While searching I found this great blog and her recipe for a homemade bath bomb.

I am going to make my own variations. I have dried lavender from a lavender infused vodka experiment that was...ok, but it is hard to mess up vodka. I also have a bunch of essential oils on hand. I buy loose leaf tea so chamomile will be on my list next time I hit the tea shop. I love the idea of oats and think I have some in the pantry.

These would make great baby shower party gifts, perfect for mom or kids!

Enjoy your soak!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fabulous moms! Scavenger hunt activity for kids!

Ocoee, 35 weeks an adorable Tea Collection romper...I am thinking I need an adult romper! Also if you have a Costco membership they have been carrying great Hannah Andersson dresses and Kirkland Organic PJ's

I am so lucky to be surrounded by fabulous moms. They inspire and encourage me, laugh with me, and listen....which is what we all need some days....just someone to listen. It makes me think of this great quote.

"If I can see further than anyone else, it is only because I am standing on the shoulders of giants". -Issac Newton

Though I don't think that I have seen further as a mother, but I do think I am standing on the shoulder of giants.

Here is a great activity for a day with kids from my friend Martina...thanks for letting us stand on your shoulders. Click here for the best Bear hunt scavenger hunt ever! She even has a bear scat cookie recipe!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mrs early bird

Ocoee is still on Tennessee time- or she is truly an early bird. Genetically this seems a stretch since her father and I loathe mornings.

Yesterday though I was up and going by 6 and really made the most of it. First the weather was slap your momma gorgeous. After working in the yard for an hour while baby hung on he deck watching the chickens we had a walk in the park. Our park is truly magical. It has everything. We strolled through the birch trees and enjoyed the fresh ferns spread across the forest floor, while the dogs took a therapeutic dip in a mud puddle.

After giving the dogs a bath I consulted my phone to see it was barely 8.

Later the weather turned overcast and rainy so I was especially appreciative that I had the stunning morning weather. While I will never be a morning bird I can enjoy the benefits once I have had a few cups of tea. So now I sip on my tea and watch Ocoee bounce happily and wonder, what will today bring?


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lovely pictures of lovely people

Check out our photo shoots with Ocoee to see pictures of our Tennessee trip and various models I talked into posing with Ocoee.

Also take the time to vote for us on all of our little clicky things on the blog! We need the votes...I will exchange cuteness for votes!!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Honest diapers review

So as much as I love my cloth diapers there are times when I need to use disposables. When I travel I often take both cloth and disposables because no one wants to be stuck on a plane with
out enough diapers and disposables take up less space. I have been buying 7th generation since I like their products and they are ecofriendly.

We are set to switch daycares in July and the new daycare does not allow cloth. I feel lucky we were able to use cloth at our current daycare and have been preparing myself for having to use disposables during the day. I started investigating products and came upon The Honest company at The company was started by Jessica Alba after her babies were born. The diapers are free of any bad things and a great price. I sent off or my free samples and love the adorable designs. They feel better than most disposables. I will give them a try over the next few days and let ya know what I think.

A few things about the company that I already like are they donate to families in need and the different options for buying diapers (they also offer other Ecoproducts) such as a monthly subscription. Part of the reason I love cloth is never having to run to the store. Just do a load of laundry. I have joked lately I feel like the entire college campus has dumped their laundry at my door- but that was more vacation catch up laundry than diapers.

So check the company out. I'll let ya know what I think but I am truly thrilled that people like me who try to live a little more green are starting to get some good options. Guess Kermit was wrong, it is easy being green.



I was pretty impressed with the diapers. We had a few leaks but even in Ocoee's cloth diapers this can happen. I think the thing I liked most, other than the environmental factor, was the diapers felt like good to the touch. They had a silkier and stronger feel than others we have used. Price wise they are about the same as the 7th generation disposable that we normally use when not using cloth. The downside is you can often get the 7th Generation on sale at store for crazy deals, where these are sold via the internet so harder to get a deal. I do love some online shopping (so much easier than running to the store) and delivery to your door is pretty awesome. We will most likely do an order to get Ocoee started at her new daycare but if we see other eco-friendly ones on sale will stock up to save the money.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

While I am away....

I am starting summer school film camp. Although I love teaching film and our film festival at the Bears Tooth is a blast....I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. I was so looking forward to relaxing this summer and so far I have traveled, worked on the house, and now back to work!

Also Ocoee is still sick. She is miserable and I think it is teething...maybe? Low grade fever and she doesn't want to eat. You can feel the beginning of her first little tooth poking through. She is unconsolable and miserable. Hubby is home with her today while I work but he leaves tomorrow. If she has a temp I can't take her to daycare...oh my.

So while I juggle these crazy hurdles here are some cool things I would be checking out if I wasn't so busy.


My amazing friends new blog is Profoundly Ordinary....but it is anything but ordinary...check out her baby moose picts. Also she has a tab for our book club, so get your read on there. I personally just devoured the 50 Shades of Grey my smut reading!

Also a few new apps you might like. A cool photo app here called pixlr....changes old photos you have to be jazzed up instagram style. Thanks Staci for sharing!

And a nice way to manage your babies health....been doing a lot of that lately. It is called BabyZoe and I have used it already to keep up with Ocoee's doctors appointments and growth. Super easy and free!

Also if you find an app that clones mommies please send to me!


Monday, June 4, 2012


Ocoee has a temp. 103.1-my heart is doing jumping jacks. She went to daycare on Friday for a few hours while I headed to the dentist. It is crazy because she never gets sick from flying with all the germs that are on airplanes but as soon as she heads back to daycare-WAM!

I called the dr and they said to give her infant ibuprofen to get the fever down. She is eating and drinking fine. Pretty tired so I can tell she isn't feeling 100%. It was the first time she has ever had a high temp and also her first medicine. I guess I should be happy she made it to 8 months before having to take anything.

Hubby came home early to help out and we are watching her like a hawk while letting her rest and relax. I hope he rebounds soon. My film camp that I am teaching begins tomorrow and hubby heads to kodiak Wednesday.

I hate seeing her sick and feel miserable that there really isn't much I can do. Oh, bug get better soon!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Home is where the heart is

Today was perfect day of domestic bliss. Ocoee and I shopped for groceries, folded laundry while she played with the clothes, cooked dinner and just hung out. It was a ordinary day that made me realize how wonderful life truly is.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Our other girls

Now that I am home again I am spending time with our chicks. They are getting much bigger and are now 6 weeks old. The love pecking around the yard and hubby gets so much contentment from them that I am glad I relented. It will be months before they lay their first egg, but am planning recipes all ready.

Check out the blog of the author of my favorite chicken book, Chicken and Egg-

Her recipes make my mouth water!


Friday, June 1, 2012

Home but not unpacked

We are back in the real world of Alaska. What a wonderful trip it was. Two weeks flew by. Seeing Ocoee with family and friends made my entire summer!

During the trip Ocoee learned to wave. When super excited she waves with both hands. She also has mastered the army crawl. Se gets around-very fast too. She had her first taste of watermelon, salmon, guacamole, strawberries and dirt. She loved to dig in the dirt and pick grass. Of course the grass and dirt went straight to her mouth.

Seeing my niece play and love Ocoee was such a emotional time. It is surreal to think my brother and I are all grown up with these amazing children. Ava and I got to spend some quality time together. We went through my makeup bag with her asking me what each thing was, she wanted to watch me braid my hair, and we did a quick shopping trip. She is 100% girl.

Hubby's mom was able to fly in from Nebraska an meet us. She loves being a grandma and spent all of her time showering Ocoee with affection. The little river rat was quite spoilt on this trip. I can't count the number of times I heard Ocoee looks like her daddy.

I really enjoyed catching up with my sister and her beautiful girls. They have grown so big and had so much spunk.

It was the best trip home ever. I love being back at my home in Alaska but my heart already misses my family.