Monday, March 31, 2008

I think I'll choose PINK

So pink it is! Neon pink. Can't miss her pink. The prettiest pink there ever was pink. Perfectly Pink.

She was thrilled. It was pink.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Dave and I had a date last night, and we stopped by this little hidden treasure in our town. If you live locally, you NEED to go see this place.

It's called Scratch, and that's exactly what they do. Everything is made from scratch. Wonderful whole grain breads baked in a clay wood fired oven, Pizza's with the most intriguing toppings such as pear, mango, papaya, along with basil, other herbs, etc.

The owner lives above the shop, and we felt like we were stepping back into time. The way things used to be. Perhaps it was reminiscent of the 1920's and 30's. As we entered they had a hugh crock of homemade smoked tuna and salmon chowder. The aroma was enticing. The owner gave us the grand tour and explained the cooking process of the large clay oven. All the while, they were stoking it with wood as watched.

The eclectic mix of made from 'scratch' items was also interesting. Everything from Cilantro hummus, to apricot cheesecake pizza. You can purchase partially baked pizza and finish cooking at home for $10 each! They pre-bake it in their clay oven at well over 1000 degrees.

It is only open Thurs.- Sunday. Their bake days are Thurs. and Fri. So it looks like Friday evening, or early Saturday would be the best time to go with the most selection. Each week the 'menu' changes so you never know what they will be baking. If you are a sour dough fan, you have found your paradise. Some of their starter dates back 100 years.

Under the counter the owner must have thousands of LP records from the 50's 60's and 70's. He told us that ofen on Thurs and Friday nights he is there baking until wee morning hours. I think he is most certainly a Led Zepplin fan :) He cranks the music up during these wee hours and bakes away. What an interesting place!!

Here's the info for anyone local that wants to visit :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Broken "El-bone" or not -the show must go on..

Just after Elizabeth broke her "el-bone" (her take on the situation) she was scheduled to be in a little ballet performance at a local Nursing Home. She insisted she wanted to do it, and her Orthoped. Dr. said Ballet was ok, so we went for it. The folks at the Nursing home were so appreciative and it was such fun to have a low key event to enjoy!

About 2/3 way through it, Elizabeth spotted me in the audience, and decided to make a run for it down the isle to tell me she was hungry. You're always hungry I told her. She replied, "and you always feed me" :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You just never know what the next hour will hold

This past Autumn, we enrolled E'beth in a tiny tots gymnastics program. John is in an advanced boys class and we thought it would be great for Elizabeth to have her class at the same time etc etc.. She was doing very well until....

One class I saw her slip off the end of the low balance beam. When she landed she began to cry. I went to get her, and couldn't console her so I took her out of the room and attempted to soothe her. Still nothing. This was not normal. She was hurt.

We were able to get her to our Ped's office prior to them closing and x rays confirmed a fractured bone in her elbow. She was a trooper and asked many many questions about taking pictures of her bones! She told her story to all that would listen to her new saga!

The plan was a temporary cast until the swelling went down, then she would get a very special one! :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Easter Bunny will never be the same

Today, we went to an Easter Brunch, and they had a 'real Easter Bunny' who was passing out candy to the children. Elizabeth marched right up to him and shook her finger at him. She said, "You shouldn't be passing out candy to children, its not good for them! You should hand them Vitamins!"

Friday, March 21, 2008

Leaving Alaska

The ship returned to Vancouver and it was quite sad to disembark. We left Alaska with the desire to return as soon as possible. Once back to Vancouver, we stayed an extra night and flew home the next day.

It was one of the best times away from home we had ever experienced. (Except for China of course! :) We were excited to see our Princess and I think the feeling was mutual (but she had such fun with her Miss Angie and Miss Brittany!) Thanks again guys for the love and care you bestowed upon our sweetheart.

When Elizabeth is 5 or so, we hope to make the journey again and this time we would also do land/ cruise tour. You spend the first days on land via train and bus, then cruise South to Vancouver or Seattle.

Thanks for following our journey to the Arctic Edge. We now resume regular programing... :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Can you imagine being a parent and going back to school to pick up your child's things, going through their locker, etc.. after they just passed away?? When you have a moment CLICK HERE to read the March 18 journal entry of Erin's Dad as he does exactly this. Erin was a typical 14 year old cheerleader and full of life. One day last month she came home one day not feeling well - today, she is in the arms of her Heavenly Father.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Smoked Salmon Dip!

During our stay at Icy Point Strait, we sampled the most delicious Smoked Salmon Dip. I'm not a big Salmon eater usually, but have to say this dip was delicious. It is wonderful on dark pumpernickel bread, crackers, or with raw fresh vegetables. Try not to substitute canned Salmon here - use only smoked.


8 ounces cream cheese, softened + (2 Tablespoons mayo if needed to thin)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 1/3 pound smoked salmon (remove any skin or bones and chop fine)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or chopped green onion
freshly ground white or black pepper
(optional = 1/3 teaspooon celery salt, garlic salt, and/or onion salt)

Use a food processor and blend the cheese, sour cream and lemon juice until mixture is smooth. Scrape mixture into a medium bowl. Add the salmon, chives, and pepper and mix gently w/ a wooden spoon. Makes about 2 cups of delicious dip. If it lasts, it's good for a week in the refrigerator.

** You can order Smoked Wild Sockeye Salmon from Alaskan waters that is hand filleted, cured then slowly smoked with alderwood and brown sugar then vacuum sealed ... HERE.

and find more Alaskan Salmon recipes HERE.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Icy Point Strait, Hoonah, and the Tlingits

Our final port-of-call was the hidden jewel of the entire trip IMHO. Icy Point Strait.

Icy Strait Point — is adjacent to the largest Tlingit Indian settlement in Alaska, Hoonah. Situated on the northeast shore of Chichag of Island, 40 miles west of Juneau, the Tlingit tribe (pronounced KLINK-IT) has inhabited the Glacier Bay region for centuries. The Tlingit language is a dying language. It is estimated there are only 200-400 people fluent in this language left in the United States, and only about 100 in Canada.

Decades ago, Icy Strait Point was the home of one of the world’s most productive salmon canneries. Today, it’s a living testament to the past. Beautifully restored, the Icy Strait Point Cannery reopened in 2004. Its halls are filled with unique family-owned shops, a museum, and a mid-1930's cannery line display.

It was decided that we would go on a Remote Bush Exploration & Brown Bear Search. We rode through the tiny town of Hoonah that is home to only 860 residents. Then off to the old growth forest in search of Brown Bears or other such sightings...

During our venture into the old growth forest, our guide gave us some fascinating background about the town of Hoonah Alaska, and the Tlingit Indian tribe...

Early Tlingit History
Tlingit families have inhabited the southeast Alaska archipelago for many hundreds of years. The original village of the Huna Tlingits was located in what is now known as Glacier Bay. More than two hundred years ago, during the last small Ice Age, advancing glaciers forced them to relocate. Since the area twenty miles to the south was used each summer as a subsistance harvesting camp, it was a natural place for them to settle.

Early Hoonah History
At first, the new settlement was referred to as Gaawt'ak'aan, or "village by the cliff", but later the name was changed to Hoonah, meaning "land where the north wind doesn't blow".

The Tlingits, skilled in hunting, fishing and plant gathering, harvested the resources of the sea and forests according to the bounty of the seasons. Operating within the laws of nature, they related to their surrounding eco-system with respect and wisdom. For example, they utilized every part of what they took from nature, that their resources would not be wasted. Their name itself spoke of what was important to them: the word Tlingit, meaning "The People", distinguished them from the four-legged inhabitants they lived amongst.

In Hoonah, many communal long-houses and clan houses were built where the Tlingits lived and interacted in a well-organized social structure. It was a matrilinial society, meaning the children inherited rights through their mothers.

For traveling to places beyond the village, the Tlingits used the ocean as a transportation corridor. They traveled in sea-worthy, hand-carved canoes, some large enough to carry forty people. In fact, these highly-skilled Tlingit navigators thought nothing of paddling for days in any direction.

Tlingit women were fine weavers of spruce root and grass baskets; hide tanning, plant and berry gathering and food preservation also occupied their time, as well as the men's. Both spent time decorating everyday objects with sophisticated, highly stylized animal designs. This distinctive, dramatic art form became a medium for the preservation of Tlingit history and culture.

Up until the 1850's, fur trading was a major economic activity. When the commercial salmon industry began in this area in the late 1800's, the Hoonah Tlingits thrived because of their innate knowledge of salmon runs, tides, weather, boat management and navigation. From 1912 to 1953, a large fish canning and packing company, located one and a half miles north of Hoonah, employed Tlingit women while their husbands purse-seined for the cannery in the waters nearby. It was during these years, when Hoonah is said to have had the largest fishing fleet in southeast Alaska, that the traditional subsistance economy of the Tlingits gradually changed to a cash economy based on commercial fishing. In the 1980's and 90's, logging in the Hoonah area shared the eonomic base with fishing; in this decade, Tourism is taking its place.

The Hoonah Fire
In 1944, a disastrous fire destroyed much of the town. No one perished, but homes filled with ancient, priceless objects of traditional Tlingit culture and art were lost to the flames. The federal government assisted in the rebuilding of the town by diverting to Hoonah World War II housing that was already enroute to Hawaii. These houses, located on Front, Second and Hill streets, are still called "Hoonah war housing".

A wonderful relaxing day in Hoonah Alaska was had by all!

I was quite relieved to see that John was to young to do *THIS* (Dave considered doing it himself though) You have to see it!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

On board formalities

There were so many highlights each day, but one of the wonderful things we looked forward to at the end of a busy day sightseeing and experiencing Alaska, was to gather with our travel group at dinner. We traveled with some very special family members and friends. I think we had about 14 people all together, and we chose to meet back at the main restaurant each evening for dinner together as a group. We would each go our own way during the daytime and do what we wanted as individuals. There were many choices of restaurants on the ship, but the main dining area was where you could sit down and order from a menu instead of a 'mega' buffet ;)

There were two formal nights during our week at sea. The first was early on in the journey, and the second was toward the end. As I mentioned we left home without a jacket for our son John and the ship's dress code for these evenings seemed pretty carved in stone. In some ways it is nice to experience the formality, but in other ways, after a full day of Alaskan wilderness exploration, the last thing one might want to do is come back and put on

John had an idea for a 'coat' to go with his shirt and tie. We had picked up a faux bear rug to go on his bed at one of our stops, so he tied it around his neck and called it his bear coat. He proudly wore this into the restaurant along side of the tuxedos and other gala attire .. (big grin here). We did get a few stares and smiles but at least we weren't asked to leave! ha.

This evening was the last formal evening, and they had a very special ending to the 6 course meal. Live musicians played music while all the chefs paraded through the dining area. Our waiter marched out with a flaming BAKED ALASKA for desert! SO fun! All the ships guests (us) waved our white cloth napkins in the air as the music played and the flaming deserts were brought out and served. It was quite festive and impressive. Sharing it with family and friends made for wonderful memories that will remain with us the rest of our lives.

The ship had many attractions for evening entertainment. Everything from a 'fun factory' for the children, to musicals and shopping, art auctions, casinos, spa, you name it. It was indeed a floating city.

There was one more port of call on the agenda, and I think this next one turned out to be one of our favorites...

Tidbit of info: It is estimated there are 12 bears living in Alaska to every one person!

CLICK HERE to make your own Baked Alaska for desert tonight!

Sunday, March 9, 2008


OK, I thought the sea plane was over and I could now enjoy the rest of our time in Alaska either on land, or ship, but not so fast..

Dave was like a little boy so filled with the excitement of this yet another venture into the arctic world. There was really nothing I could say or do to change his mind about doing this, so I decided to embrace his enthusiasm with a resolution that God would protect them and that I would most certainly do my part to ask for His protection!

CLICK HERE to see what was next!

What an adventure! They took the helicopter to a glacier, landed on it, and spent time exploring. Then, a visit to a dog sled camp where John was able to ride with the Mushers! Dave said it was actually quite comfortable temp. wise with the mid day sun.

Upon their return, I was to meet them at an area where their bus that took them to the helicopter pick up point, would return and drop them off. I waited and waited and bus after bus came, but no John and Dave. We had to be back on ship at 5:30 and at 5:20 they were not back. Surely you can imagine what was going through my mind! FINALLY, the last bus arrived, and they were one of the last to get off, and we dashed madly to catch the shuttle back to the ship.

The ship had hot chocolate and cookies waiting for all the returning guests and after a dose of sugar before 6 coarse meal that John referred to as "6 dinner meal" :) we all felt a bit more relaxed! lol.

It was 'formal' night on the ship.. and we forgot a jacket to go w/ Johns shirt and tie.
We generally don't "do formal" so I'm not surprised I forgot it.

John had an idea though.
*You will most certainly want to add one of these to your next gala event attire*.
Come back to see it :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Juneau, the capitol city of Alaska is situated approx. 600 air miles south of Anchorage and 900 miles north of Seattle. The city is only accessible by air, or sea as there are no highways connecting Juneau with the rest of Alaska, or Canadian provinces. The average Summer temps. are in the 50's with lows in the 40's. Juneau gets more than 18 hours of sunlight during the month of June, but only about 6 hours at the winter solstice.

Anxious to get of the ship, we were up at the crack of 3 a.m. :) and after one of the mega buffet breakfasts on the ship we were on the streets of Juneau by about 7 a.m. We took a tram to the top of a mountain that overlooked the town and saw a play done by native Indian tribes about Ravens at the top of the mountain. The views were astounding once again, and they just kept getting better the more time spent on land. We hiked a few trails into an old growth forest and John had great fun climbing the massive trees. The soil is shallow and the roots grow on top so it made a wonderful climbing adventure!

After riding the tram back down, we boarded a trolley that took us on a tour of the city. We saw many interesting neighborhoods... including THIS one! (Sheila L. you were correct!).

Click on the pics to put yourself a little closer to all the majesty!!

**Well, I thought the testosterone was back to normal levels after the sea plane adventure.... but I was wrong. They had another agenda. The afternoon, was spent once again praying for the boys safe return....

to be continued...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Land of the Midnight Sun, Hubbard Glacier, and..sigh, seasickness

We said goodbye to Ketchikan hoping that one day we could return and spend more time on land. By this time, sunsets were not until after midnight, and sunrise was around 3 a.m. You would think this would make sleeping difficult, and it did, but interestingly we weren't as tired at 6 a.m. as we usually are at "home" 6 a.m. since the sun had already been out for 3 hours. We kept telling our bodies it was 9 a.m. :)

At one point, the ship went into open sea waters again, and encountered some rather high waves and storms. During the night, it was quite soothing to be in bed and feel the ship rocking back and forth. In the morning however, the shower was very tiny and there were no windows in the bathroom. During my shower, I kept bumping up against the wall attempting to keep my balance ... it hit! I was seasick! It seems from that point on, until we reached calmer waters it wasn't quite as pleasant as it had been. lol.

Hubbard Glacier was the next point of interest on our route. Hubbard Glacier, is the largest calving glacier on the North American continent. Interestingly, it is approx. 25% larger than Rhode Island and you can read all about it HERE if you are so inclined. Its interesting reading for those wanting to expand their knowledge on glaciers ;) It truly was fascinating and the captain of the ship did a complete 360 to make sure all passengers had a premium view of this wonder. We spent about 3 hours at the Glacier and it was breathtaking.

Be sure to click on the pictures and enlarge to appreciate the majesty. You won't be sorry!

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Sea Plane

There wasn't much getting around it, Dave was determined this had to be one of the 'must do Alaskan experiences'...and that John would enjoy it as much or more. Perhaps the pictures will tell the story here ;)

Some may recall hearing about the safety record of these small planes, and within a 2 month period of our travels, there were 4 sea plane crashes killing most of the passengers and crew involved.( In Alaska). In one case there was a family that included a set of 7 yr. old twins, the mom and dad, grandmother and grandfather. The plane went down killing all on board except the grandmother and one of the twins. They were seriously injured. The family was on the 3rd day of their cruise.

My instincts were NOT to do this, but this was something Dave REALLY wanted to.

So, off they go... CLICK HERE!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Put the kid in a red jacket on a front row and...

the Lumberjacks pick him to try out their artistry with a chain saw.

John however thought the chain saw was going after him! These guys were the nicest lumberjacks you would ever want to meet in a dark alley with chain saws though. They carved a small chair in just a matter of seconds, and then picked John out of the audience to 'sit' in it. After they were done, they gave John the chair.

The only catch was we had to get it home. It was over $50.00 to ship it home.

Next on the agenda for the day was the underwater boat. I should interject that when Dave was in high school, his "plan" was to become a Marine Biologist, work with the Jacques Causteau team on Calypso and eventually have his own ship.. (Really! :) His 'plan' however was derailed by a not-so-great advanced biology teacher in 11th grade. He then channeled his efforts into a bit more conventional and mundane Chemical Engineering path. Wonder what life would have been like on board the Calypso w/ two kids? lol.

So, needless to say, the adventures of the day were reflections back on past dreams for the big guy. The little guy got to hold and touch interesting creatures and learn about life at the Arctic edge.

Then, it was time for THIS