Monday, December 28, 2009


We had a great Christmas! The Kids enjoyed acting out the nativity scene on Christmas Eve as Dad read from the Bible. This year we had Mary, Joseph, a wise woman, and an angel.
Liz and Sammie both got some fake fingernails and play makeup for Christmas. They both had to try on the fake nails, but decided they weren't much fun to wear for very long. I'm hoping they will loose interest in the make up soon too.
They've all enjoyed the play dough that Grandma Hughes gave them. The puzzles turned out to be a little more on Mom's level. But I've sure enjoyed them!
This is Caleb's big gift for the year. One of the down sides of shopping on-line is that you don't always get all the details. This track is huge. We had to build a table for it in the mudroom. But he loves it, so I guess it's all good!
Hope you all had a great Christmas too!!! Sorry I didn't send cards this year. I've got to start thinking about Christmas cards before December hits I guess.

Gingerbread Houses

This is a family tradition that I grew up with. Every year we made gingerbread houses. My mom always made the gingerbread from scratch and the whole family would decorate them. Then they would be put on display for a month before we were allowed to eat them if we still wanted to. While I've mostly continued this tradition with my kids, this is the first year that I made my own gingerbread. That wasn't as easy as I expected, but it turned out good. And because I waited to make them until a week before Christmas they weren't even very dusty by the time the kids were allowed to eat them.
This is the kids just getting started. I would've liked to have Stewart and I make them too, but I didn't have enough molasses to make that much gingerbread.

Each of the kids posed with their finished pieces before going to bed while I put the houses together.

Here's the finished product. Left to right are Caleb's, Liz's, Josh's, and Sammie's.

Thankfully my mom's icing recipe really gets hard because even though the gingerbread was hard when they were decorating, with all the humidity here it actually softened a lot in the week that they were on display.

Sammie turns 4!

Sammie was very excited for her birthday this year. We counted down to her birthday first and then when that was done we started the Christmas count down. She was determined that she wasn't actually 4 years old until the day after though. She got two main birthday presents from us this year. One was a "fridge DJ" which is a big magnet radio that sings counting and ABC songs. She loves it! The other is a preschool wii game. She loves that she has her very own wii game and is starting to figure it out.

I also let her pick what cake I should make. She chose this lion. I thought it turned out really cute.

This Picture is just one of those extra's I like to throw in. It's the view out our kitchen window on Sammie's b-day. I love the mix of snow and forest. In Chevak, Snow was snow with nothing to break it up, so I'm really enjoying the variety.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Santa's pre-Christmas visit

We had our school Christmas program on Friday last week and then a Branch Christmas party on Saturday. The kids were part of a short play for each one and Santa came to both. We didn't get pictures at the Church party, but I wanted to share the ones from the school program. We had some ladies from the community that put in a lot of volunteer hours to create a beautiful set for the kids program and it made a great backdrop for some pictures. My kids hadn't seen santa for a while. The last time they saw him was when Sammie was just a couple days old. So this was very exciting for them. (At least the younger two that still believe.) The older two were excited because this wasn't your average mall Santa that poses for a picture and hands you a candy cane. The city had provided nice gifts for santa to give every child there from newborn clear through our two high school students.

Caleb with Santa

Liz's first ever smiling picture with Santa.

Josh could tell this wasn't the REAL santa because his brown mustache was showing a little under the white one. But he didn't care too much because he knows that the real santa is very busy right now.

Sammie loved seeing santa. And when Josh suggested that he wasn't the real one she got very defensive on Santa's behalf.

We were over due for a new family picture, so we took advantage of the scenery. And thanks to Ron (the kids archery coach) everybody even smiled.

This is Sammie and Blaine. They are my two preschoolers. Their part in the program was to hold up signs saying "the end" and look cute. I think they did a great job!

I threw this picture in just because it's so cute!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I took Koda - our new puppy for a quick walk before school yesterday. We went by this dock that is rarely used and there were at least 7 otters running around on it. Of course I didn't have a camera on me, so after watching for a while I went home and got the camera. When I got back to the dock most of them were out swimming far enough from the dock that I couldn't get good pictures but these two hadn't quite joined them yet. There really is an abundance of wild life around us. I'm glad I get to stop and enjoy it every once in a while.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My big win!

Ok, I don't even have a picture to go with this one, but I have to brag for a moment. On Saturday we attended the annual Coffman Cove turkey shoot. I signed up to compete, not because I'm a good shot, but because there were very few women competing for some nice prizes. So I took my shots and we left long before the event was over. Later I found out that I had taken 1st place in the Women's 100 yard scope contest. My prize was a round trip flight to Ketchikan. I'm very proud of it even if it was a very lucky shot!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Deer Hunt - Caleb's first deer

Ok, first I have to say that I got my first deer recently also (on halloween actually) but it was a doe so we didn't get any pictures. I'm still quite proud of myself though. I spotted it and shot it all by myself, and gutted it with a little help from Stewart.
Caleb shot his first deer a week after me. He got this little spike. It was a good shot- buzzed the liver and hit the lungs. He also did most of the gutting himself with some help from Stewart. As you can see from this picture, he was VERY excited.
A day or two later Stewart came home with another spike, so I had to get pictures of them with their matching spikes.

Here they have a little different terminology than back in Utah. When we would say two-point in Utah they say forked horns here, because they fork. So Stewart brought this little buck home the other day and we were calling it a spike with eye guards, but I talked to a local that told me it's called sporked horns. I love that term. So here's a picture of Stew's Sporked horns.

This last week we got our first overnight guests at our new place. Travis (Paula's brother that lives in Ketchikan) brought his son over to hunt for the week. They managed to get a nice forked horn buck early in the week and added a spike to it later in the week. For a while our mudroom looked a bit like a butcher shop.

For those that are saying to themselves "now how many deer can you get?" Stewart and I can each get 6. 1 has to be off the main island and so we probably won't get that one for either of us. 4 of the others have to be bucks. And the fifth can be a buck or doe. At this point we've got 7 deer (2-forked horns, 1- sporked horn, 1- spike by 2, 2-spikes, and a doe. And I am ready for this year's hunt to be over, but it lasts till the end of December. Next year Caleb can get his own tags and we will be allowed 18 deer for our family. That ought to be fun!!!

Halloween and hanging out at home

I was a little worried about Halloween this year. In the past few years the kids have gone to a big school carnival and then had our teacher housing neighborhood to trick or treat in. Our new school is only 15 students and I only know where a small handful of people live to allow my kids to go trick or treating at houses that I'm OK with. But it turned out great! The city put on a carnival with extreme amounts of goodies and prizes for very low cost and with only a few kids in town there were never long lines for any of the games. Sammie loved the cake walk and was very good at it. She won at least 6 cakes - and the other kids each won at least one. We were able to give most of them away to other families there but we still came home with plenty, not to mention the big bags of goodies and toys the kids had all won at the other games. Then when we went trick or treating, to the 5 or 6 houses that I knew the people, everyone either gave huge handfuls of candy or full size candy bars. To say the least the kids didn't feel deprived at all!! Two weeks later they are still working on the candy even though I have it all in a big bowl on the kitchen table so they can eat all they want.

The kids are loving their new puppy. Koda (the puppy) is getting bigger everyday, but she's also getting better behaved and slightly closer to being house trained. Although lately she's been barking to wake me up at 3am to let her out to potty. If she doesn't grow out of that before the weather gets warmer she's going to end up sleeping out side - but I really hope it doesn't last that long.

Sammie is still getting used to our new home. She'd like to know exactly how long we are going to live here. But she gets to spend a few hours everyday at the school with me. And she really loves to be read to. Stewart's much better about taking a break and reading a few books to her than I am.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bear, Eagles, Starfish and a Puppy!!

Ok Now I've got the bear pictures loaded on the computer. For anyone that hasn't heard the story I'll summarize. On Stewart's birthday (Sept 30th) he took the day off work to drop Sammie and I off at the ferry to go to Robby's wedding. On his way home he had a trooper following him so he took a side road and happened upon a bear in a clearcut area. So he got his first bear! It is 5 feet from head to tail (fairly average for the island). The pictures aren't great - I apologize for not being there to help with the camera work. We have been asked a lot about the meat as bear is not usually a very edible meat. The black bear on the island are split into two categories, high and low. High bear eat blueberries all year and have very sweet meat. Low bear eat salmon and are not as desirable. This was a high bear. The only way we've tried it so far was a roast in the crockpot, but it was very tender and sweet. Everyone - including Sammie enjoyed it.
We went for a drive on Saturday to look for deer and get a load of wood. We crossed Eagle creek, which we do quite often (it's a great fishing spot). This time is was covered in eagles. We stopped on the bridge and took at least 50 pictures. Here are some of the better ones.
There are at least three eagles in the picture above. Two bald and one Golden.
We are starting a pretty good starfish collection. This is Caleb with his most recent find. We are drying a couple at a time but I'm not sure what we're doing with them after that.
On Saturday after the kids last track meet, we stopped at the grocery store and of course there is a lady with a box of puppies. So the kids go running up with Stewart close behind as I yelling "we are NOT taking one home!" Then as I got closer I realized they were little lab puppies and I started to soften. Then I was reminded that we are only going to Blanding for a couple weeks this year instead of the whole summer, and we have a huge mudroom that's a great place for a puppy to live. They were mostly lab puppies (mom is full lab and dad is mostly lab) and they were free. So long story short we got a new puppy. She's named Koda and she's very cute. And the kids love her!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Backyard cookout

I started this post with the purpose of posting bear pics, but they aren't on the computer yet, so instead this is a couple fun pics of our hot dog roast in the backyard last Saturday. We went to Naukati for cross country races in the morning (the weather was beautiful and the kids did great), then we split and stacked the logs that Stewart and the kids had hauled while I was in Utah for Robby and Laurel's wedding, and then we kept enjoying the sunshine by cooking marshmallows and hot dogs in the back yard. What a great day!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My spoiled girls!

This is the first year that my girls have been brave enough to have a room of there own. Yes, for the last few years we have stuffed 4 kids into one bedroom, but it was because they wanted it that way. But this time they decided it was time to separate, SO, I got to decorate a little girls bedroom for the first time. Let me show you what I've got!

Sammie is the only one home with me during the days this year, so I'm trying to let her help me with the chores whenever possible. Her favorite by far is making bread because I let her put the flour in all by herself. Usually the kitchen needs to be cleaned anyway, so what's a little more mess?

My first three Crab!!!!

Stewart went out this morning and set our own crab pots (two of them) for the first time. The maintenance man here has become a quick friend of Stewart's and he has at least two boats, but one is a little 16 foot bass boat. It's not sea worthy but for running around in the cove it's great. Anyway, he said we can use that one anytime. So tonight Stewart took me out just for fun to show me the boat and where the pots were, and we decided to check them, not expecting anything because they'd only been out about 8 hours and some people leave them a week. But I pulled them up all by myself and there was one female in the first one, so we had to throw it back. And the second one had three big males. So we put the pots back down and brought the crab home live to show the kids. Then I got a lesson in cleaning them. But I was so excited to share this new adventure that I am sitting on the front porch of the library while the temperature is in the 50's and it's pouring rain, because that's were I can get internet closest to my house.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

1st buck and other pics

Stew wasn't thrilled about posing for a picture, but he did want to let everyone know that he found a great hunting spot. He could have got a big black bear instead, but he would have had to pack it out by himself on a long tough hike, so he passed on the bear for this time and settled on this little two point. He saw a LOT of other bucks but they were across a large canyon

This is the hunting spot Stew went to this morning. He would like everyone to know that after a LOT of driving around and finding places like this, he now feels comfortable taking friends and family out hunting if anybody wants to stop by and visit.

This is where we went net fishing for salmon until we broke the net. Our new one should be here in a couple days, but the salmon are starting to rot.

This is how Josh and Sammie fish.

I know this doesn't fit the theme, but this is our church building in Craig. It's small but we're just happy to have other members to meet with in person.

And this is just another of the great views that Stewart found while hunting this morning.