Monday, December 27, 2010

Spikey Boys

The boys got hair cuts yesterday and they opted for the spikey do. They loved it! Declan kept saying he was a triceratops and head butting everything. He's such a trip! I love these kids!


Two of my very handsome/serious Steelers fans! Thank you Tony and Elise (and the kids) for the jerseys, they are awesome!

Frosty Alaska

With all the East getting smacked with snow we are getting very little snow (for us) but the below 0 temps have made things very frosty. I popped out for a little bit to drive around and check out the mountains/stare in awe of God's creation. I love living here! It really makes me realize how small I am!

I love how the heaviness of the snow causes the birch trees to bend. It just amazes me.

This is just above where I live and you can see the line from where the sun actually shines and where it doesn't. By the way, it's like 3pm when I took these pictures. I'm so glad the darkness doesn't bother me, but I really could use a healthy dose of Hawaii!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas From the Caldwell's

Merry Christmas from Alaska! This was our first Christmas in Alaska with solely the four of us and no other family. It was actually a little weird for me since I'm so use to the craziness of the LaMarca family Christmas Eve extravaganza and then opening presents on Christmas morning at my parents' house and then traveling to Ryan's family's house. The busyness of this season is something that I missed but at the same time it was really peaceful to spend time with just us and then later with friends for dinner. The boys had so much fun and really loved all their gifts. Thank you all who sent love and gifts to us in the freezey north and we have been greatly blessed this year!

Our beautiful Christmas tree that we finally took out of the box after purchasing it 3 years ago! It was well worth braving the day after Christmas sale at Target all those years ago!


Christmas eve Ian made sure we left cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer! The next morning we found a letter from Santa sealed with Santa's wax seal.

Ian and Declan both got their Pillow Pets that I really didn't want to deal with but they separately picked them out for each other. How could I say no to that?

It was a very Lego Christmas at this house and I'm sure I will regret that in a few days.

Cabelas' fun action sets from Grandma and Grandpa. Ryan enjoyed them just as much as the boys did. You'll see proof of this later.

Space station for Ian and fire station for Declan from Nana and Uncle Andrew.

Hunter Dan from Cabelas' set up by Ryan.

Lovin the space shuttle!

Future "fire fighter man" as he puts it.

Uncle Zach got us all gifts from the different countries he visited and Ryan had a little fun with Hunter Dan and Ian's elephant.

One more Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy Birthday Jesus from those of us at Fort Rich, Alaska!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fun with Ian

So last week I finally had my hair done and came home to a very startled Ian. I decided to go much darker than usual and Ian just kept staring at me. He also said I look like "Baylee's mom" cause she has dark hair too. But when I was trying to take a picture of the new do Ian was all about being in it! He's so fun and I love him and my new dark hair!

Ian's growing up!

So the other day Ian was wanting to read one of his Christmas book so the obvious choice was to sit under the tree to read. He's so stinkin cute! I'm so proud of him and the little guy he's becoming.

The other day Ryan and I were in the kitchen and Ian comes running in as proud as he could be and said "look what I wrote!" He's getting so big and I can hardly believe it. One proud momma here!

First time XC skiing with the kids!

I just have to say that I'm so proud of my boys! (In case you didn't know that yet.) Ryan has been xc skiing for years and I'm still learning but we both love it and really wanted to share that with the boys. We decided to use some of the Christmas money for some new skis for the both of them. The excitement at the REI as we picked them out was so fun to see! Better to get them started sooner rather than later. They did better than Ryan and I could ever imagine for the first time on skis! The excitement was bursting from them, oh wait, that was Ian whining about EVERYTHING! Once we got to Beach Lake in Chugiak they were ready to go!

Declan waiting for us to figure out how to adjust his skis. He didn't seem to mind.

Once those skis were on them there was no stopping them unless they took a spill.

He started out with his poles but they were too distracting so we left them in the van.

Once again, Declan was eating snow. I'm not sure why he likes it so, but he does.

Declan's first spill on the skis!

And I had to do some movies of them. I couldn't get in front of Ian without ditching Declan so I will try again next time. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cookin' up a storm!

I have been really loving the cooking thing lately, mostly things that aren't a real meal but non the less it's fun. I received this recipe from my friend Laura and I just needed to try it out! Brace you're self...Carrot Cake Jam! For someone who loves loves loves carrot cake this was a given! I'll add the recipe at the end so you can try it too.

Guess who is getting some jam for Christmas! Feel the love my friends!

Can you see the yumminess in there! Oh my goodness! What is jam without some fresh baked bread, oh yes I did!

Courtesy of my mother-in-law and the New York Times I made this No-Knead bread (recipe also at end). I made it with whole wheat flour instead of white flour and it was fabulous!

This would be really great with some hearty soup or something like that but since it's 10am I'm going for some of that delicious carrot cake jam!

Warm bread and fresh jam, how could I resist taking a bite before I photographed it. Such is life.

It's almost that time so I figured I would post another picture of the advent calendar of love from Grandma-in-law! The excitement of it all is so much fun ad I can't wait till Christmas morning when the boys come downstairs and spending time with friends! I can't wait!

Carrot Cake Jam

1 ½ cups finely grated peeled carrots (4-5)

1 ½ cups chopped cored peeled pears, very ripe (about 3-4)

1 ¾ cups canned crushed pineapple

½ cup shredded coconut, sweetened

3 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 package of regular powered fruit pectin

5 cups of sugar

1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.

2. In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine carrots, pears, coconut, pineapple, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover and boil gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard, stirring constantly for one minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

3. Ladle jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles and adjust head space, if necessary , by adding hot jam. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to finger tip tight.

Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Yield: 7- 6oz jars.

No-Knead Bread (found in the NY Times)

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

cold day in...

So yesterday was a very cold day for us here in Alaska! While I was out and about trying to wrap up some last minute Christmas stuff I looked down and noticed the temp outside was COLD!

This isn't the best picture but if you can look closely you can see the moon over the mountains. This place never ceses to take my breath away! Beautiful!

And once again I looked down and discovered that it was even colder! At this point it was about 2:45 in the afternoon and it was definately not warming up.

I took the boys to get their hair cut but ended up sitting in the car for a hour while they took a nap. When we got home it was even colder. I'm just thankful we aren't stationed in Fairbanks, where it's been -20's and -30's! CRAZINESS!

And no matter how cold it is there is still more cool things just around the corner! I love it!