Monday, August 25, 2008

Blueberries and the State Fair

The view of Mt. McKinley from the start of our hike. It is the white blob far away (it takes over 7 hours to drive there from where we live). Trust me it was a must cooler looking with your eyes but our camera just couldn't capture that (but that is why I might convince Jon to get a new one).

Our new friend Ashley and I on the hike up the mountain to the blueberries. Ashley introduced us to the group that goes on these hikes and asked us to join her and boy are we glad we did. It was so fun to meet people and see that we can join any hike going on in town. It was a montly crew of 11 people and 6 dogs on the hike. I was faster than the 18 year old dog for most of the hike - but he did surpass me near the top - luckily Jon and Ashley had mercy on me and starting picking blueberries right where I stopped walking. Some people walked to the peak to get berries but we had plenty of luck 3/4 the way up the mountain. Ashley filled her liter jar and Jon and I filled our 2 tupperware.

Jon and I on the decent down the mountain after our prosperous blueberry picking.

Fresh blueberries (I am sitting in the blueberry patch) you just pick it from the flat green leaves on the group. The evergreen looking stuff on the ground also has berries but they are very bitter not to be confused with blueberries. What do you do with 4 cups of blueberries when your husband is going to leave for 2 weeks - you make blueberry jam! My first attempt at anything like this and I am going to have to get some better recipes than what I got off the Internet. (hint hint Lisa - what are yours??) Our blueberry jam tastes more like sugar with a hint of blueberry but we will still eat it. I get to freeze then now and pull them out when we are ready to eat - even though Jon used some on a sandwich last night before it was technically ready.

Jon at the state fair with the white turkey. We went to the Alaskan state fair with some new friends - Justin and Beth and JoElle (their 7 month old). We had a blast getting to know each other on the hour drive to the fair and then walking around for a few hours. The fair had plenty of food and random entertainment. The lumberjack show was our favorite, the climbed up trees and cut things and where just funny really. We ate cheese steaks, funnel cake (YEAH!!) and homemade lemonade. For a state that only has a population of 600,000 I bet at least a few thousand where at the fair.
It was a great way to spend the weekend - with people!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

House Picitures (Finally)

The Family Room.

My Red, White and Blue bathroom!!

The Study.

These are a few pictures of the new house. We have finished unpacking all our bags and are enjoying our time here. My next post will include our adventures this weekend in Blueberry picking and the Alaska State Fair!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friendship Bread

Two weeks ago at bible study a lady handed out starter kits for Amish Friendship bread and yesterday was the day it was ready to be baked! After a short walk to the local grocery store (Carr's - what a name for a grocery store) I had all the ingredients and began my day of baking. Instead of making three bags to give to others I decided to make extra loaves to give to our neighbors so we could get to know them. In case you are thinking - isn't this the same Ashley who always uses prepared meals and does not cook anything - it is except this Ashley has all the time in the world on her hands so a day of baking sounded great to me. It gave me something to do while I watched the Olympics and read some of books my mother-in-law sent me for my birthday (which are page turners!) I finished 2 of the 3 books already. So 5 hours and 10 loaves later I was done cooking and all but 2 loaves actually turned out looking pretty good. Jon and I started on one last night - we won't want to give our neighbors bad bread we had to test it out and it was pretty dang good. So tonight we take on the task of getting to know our neighbors - even though we don't know how long we will live in the neighborhood we figure we should get to know them anyway!
And for those of you who might be wondering if I have gone to Let's Dish or Super Suppers I have to say no - I have prepared meals each night for Jon and I to eat. We have had bar-b-que chicken, tacos, spaghetti, and tortellini since we moved into our house. I even made cabbage slaw (one of my favorite dishes my mom makes) for a chapel potluck last Sunday. Who knows we may live in Alaska long enough for me to learn to enjoy cooking!
As I have promised in the last few posts pictures of the house are coming - I even took them yesterday I am just working up enough patience to hook the camera up to the computer and download the pics!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pizza and Coffee

In Waco we had an abundance of Tex-Mex - well in Alaska there is a pizza shop and coffee shop on every corner is seems. Since Jon and I aren't much into coffee we have been hitting up the pizza shops. We have had Thai chicken, Taco and plain pizza - in only 2 weeks. We have gone to 1 coffee shop - Jitters - it was nice I got a bagel and hot chocolate which were really good!! Oh yeah - one other thing we have a ton of - alcohol - no wonder so many questions on the driving test were about drunk driving. Did you know in Alaska it is worse to drive drunk than to hit someone with your car (unless you are drunk when you hit them). This was one of those questions that I thought I would get right on the driving test but it was contrary common knowledge.
Pictures of the decorated house to come! Most rooms are put together just the rearrange to get things in the correct spots to be done.

Monday, August 11, 2008

3rd times a charm

It only took me 3 times to pass the written test for my Alaskan driver's license. The first time I failed we laughed it off - the second time I was pretty ticked off and mad that Jon doesn't get the privilege of taking this test. The third time was a charm - I passed with flying colors (OK not really - just by the hair of my chinny chin chin). So then I got to get in line to get my license and that also took 3 times. The first time my license came out with the name - Ahley. Jon and I thought it might be the new and upcoming way to spell Allie but told them that was not my name. The second time it came out Ashely but never fear the third time was correct. Some of you who have seen my handwriting might be thinking if you took your time to write neater they would not have had a problem reading that - EXCEPT she typed my name from my social security card, passport, previous license and military ID - nothing that I had to write on. So tomorrow while we celebrate my birthday we can also celebrate my passing the test, getting a license with my name and us getting into our house the next day!!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ashley's Birthday Trip

For my birthday this year I asked Jon to take me on a ride with iditarod dogs. Well we went yesterday to a small town 2 hours from Anchorage called Seward where the iditarod first started. We went to Seavey's Dog Sled rides. It was pretty fun - not exactly what I expected. Our "1 hour" ride was a 2 mile ride and then a tour of the facility but it was still awesome. The smell on the other hand was not so great. They have 84 dogs in their homestead and that many dogs together makes for not so great smelling times. It was really fun to see how the dogs live and the training they have to go through to be picked to race. We got to ride with the puppies pulling us - Our lead dog was still learning and he only missed one command. They use the summer as a testing time to see which dogs they want to run the big race in March! We got to hold some puppies also - they were only 2 weeks old - Jon's puppy peed on him:)

After the dog sled ride we went and toured Seward. There is some big Salmon derby going on so there were a ton of people going out to fish Salmon - we just walked around and then found out about a Glacier in the area so we went to check it out. We got to climb to the side of it - out goal before we leave is to go to the top. It is a 3.7 mile hike straight up a mountain so we are going to have to train a bit for that. How many people hang out at a glacier in August??

As for our wildlife update: 4 moose, 1 bald eagle flying out in the open, a bunch of salmon and some of the world's largest mosquitoes.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Short Alaska Update

So it is the first day with direct SUNLIGHT!!! I am about to go outside and just sit at one of the many parks on base. We have seen moose already but didn't have our camera. So far things have been ok - but with the sun out today Jon and I are sure today will be great!!! We are going geocaching tonight and will update pictures tomorrow!!
In case anyone is wondering it really doesn't get dark - last night we had dinner at Jon's supervisors (Chaplain and Tina Lewis) and boy was it great food - much better than what we can make in the microwave and we stayed there until 11:30 not realizing how late because the sun was shinning the entire time - it was dusk like by the time we started walking back - but really 11:30 and only dusk like - CRAZY!
I will post more later.