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Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas from our little family to yours!! 


We had a beautiful day here in Alaska.  The temps were fairly warm, but not warm enough to melt away our white Christmas! We woke up early, opened our presents, took naps, watched movies, cooked a big dinner, and went to the beach with Specks.  It was an amazing day and I could not have asked for more :) 

Christmas Eve

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Happy Christmas Eve!


The picture above is of Cody and I last year on Christmas Eve.  We've come a long way in the last year! At this time last year we had only been living in Alaska for three months, we'd been living in our apartment for only a couple of weeks, and Cody and I were both working low-paying jobs while we held out for our dream jobs (me-waiting for a teaching position, cody-waiting to get hired as a behavioral case manager).  This year is a much different tune! We have made our house a home, we've settled into our own traditions, and we are no longer struggling to make ends meet.  What a difference a year makes :)


It is tradition in our little family to open a pair of pajamas and a game on Christmas Eve.  Our evening will look a little something like this…

6:00pm- Dinner (prep and eat)
7:00pm- Watch the original cartoon version of The Grinch
7:30pm- Open Christmas Eve gifts (pj's and games)
8:00pm- Play a few rounds of whatever game we bought this year
9:0…

A Day In The Life: Alaskan Teacher

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6:00am: Usually I am hitting snooze about this time.  Zzz….  But, then I somehow make it out of bed to walk the dog, primp, and eat breakfast.

7:20am: Leave the house (in the dark) for work and make the ten minute drive to the elementary school.   Typically this involves getting stuck behind a school bus. Cody and I carpool fairly often because we work at the same school.



8:00am-3:00pm: School! I have students in my classroom at this time.  The rest of the elementary school gets out at 2:30pm but because my classroom has two sessions (AM and PM) each class has to be the same length. The AM class is at school from 8:00am-11:30am and the PM class attends from 11:30am-3:00pm.  This makes for a pretty crazy schedule and some long days for me but I really like my job so I don't complain…much ;)


I try to do a cooking activity with my students each week (this teaches math, reading, writing, and practical life skills).  This particular day we made homemade hot cocoa! It was perfect to si…

Life Lately: November Wrap-Up

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November was a wonderful month in Juneau.  We started the month with some downright amazing weather (sunny, warm, etc).  We couldn't escape the snow forever though.  By mid-month we were buried.  And, because this is Alaska, we will stay that way until April.


Oh well, we didn't move to Alaska to enjoy a tropical vacation!  The month was gorgeous though and I took a TON of pictures.  This post is essentially a photo-dump of all of my cool pictures from the month that I never shared.  So, here's a little peek into what a typical November in Southeast Alaska looks like…

This month we ate delicious food…



enjoyed amazing views from the house…



wandered around this beautiful state...




spent a ton of time with friends…



snuggled the puppy…



spent too much time prepping the classroom…


and enjoyed this kooky-crazy life we are living in the 49th state! 
Questions: What did you do this month? What was you favorite part of November? 

Thanksgiving in Alaska (Year Two)

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Cody and I had only been living in Alaska for three weeks at this time last year.  Thanksgiving was a VERY different affair.  This was the first year that either of us had ever been away from our families for the holidays.  Admittedly, we both had a tough time with the holidays last year.  We still had a blast exploring and making new traditions, but we were homesick.  We spent most of Thanksgiving 2012 at our apartment, just the two of us.  We cooked, and ate, and watched football.  But, we also drove up to Eaglecrest Ski Area and did a little hiking before we tucked into our big meal.  It was just the two of us, we made the most of it, and we had a wonderful time.



This year was a much more social affair.  Cody and I were invited to multiple Thanksgivings! We spent the earlier part of the day with two of our good friends (parents of one of my students) and their families.  It was such a nice time and very family-oriented.  We ate food, played games (hide-and-seek with the little ones…

Alaskan Snow Day!

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Juneau was blanketed with 13inches of snow on Thursday.  I looked out my front door and immediately thought, "uh-oh."  The snow was DEEP and very wet.  Me, being a midwesterner, figured this would mean the closure of JSD (Juneau School District) but I was sadly mistaken.  Schools in Alaska don't close unless they absolutely have to.  Their answer to the snow…chain-up your tires, slap some spikes on your boots, and enjoy the weather!

Sadly, the following day it warmed up to a toasty 40° and most of the snow melted (yuck).  This also meant that I didn't manage to get a single picture of our deep, wet snowfall.  The temperatures cooled back off over the weekend though and we found ourselves with a couple fresh inches of powder.  I did manage to take a few pictures of our lesser snowfall, which is much less impressive but still pretty.



On another snowy note, Juneau's own Eaglecrest Ski Area is competing for a top spot in Powder Magazine's Ski Town Throwdown.  If…

Snow Is Coming...

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That's right folks, snow is officially headed our way! Autumn was unusually long and warm for SE Alaska.  I didn't even break out my winter coat until last week.  But, now we are in for it.  Temperatures are supposed to get down into the single digits this week and snow is predicted almost every day.

Thankfully, Cody and I got the snow tires put back on the cars this weekend (woo-hoo for studs).  Here in Juneau we run studded tires during the winter.  Legally, you can run them from September-April (typical times of the year when it is snowing).  We were lucky to keep them off of the cars until November this year! Lots of other "winter prep" is happening at our house this weekend.  We have to winterize the windows and doors, find our snow shovel (I am hoping its buried in the shed), and do any last minute outdoor cleaning.  Busy, busy!






I'll leave you all with this pretty picture I snapped on Friday night.  Cody and I were outside walking the dog when the moon popp…

Northern Lights & Tasty Meals

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This weekend in Juneau was a MUCH needed holiday weekend.  Parent-teacher conferences demanded most of my attention last week, and I still have a couple to wrap-up tomorrow.  But, I felt so excited after wrapping up (most) conferences on Friday afternoon that I treated myself to a few tasty treats.




Yup, that's a strawberry velvet cupcake….heavenly.  And, I paired it with a little peppermint tea.  Both were bought at a couple of my favorite local hotspots.  It was an amazing way to kickstart my weekend.

The most exciting part of our weekend took place on Friday and Saturday nights….the Northern Lights were visible!!  Sadly, I don't have picture proof but we did get to see them faintly.  They were incredibly bright on Friday night and you can check them out here, on local artist Elise Tomlinson's Facebook page.  Keep in mind that the harbor that she pictures is only about three miles from my front door.  Whoa.


I snapped this picture at sunset one evening this weekend.  Not …

Sunrise, Sunrise

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Our mornings and evenings have been surprisingly clear these last couple of weeks.  That's not to say that it hasn't still dumped rain on us every single day (because it has).  But, we've been gifted with some pretty beautiful skies.  I've noticed the clear skies mostly around sunrise and sunset, which is now happening at 7:30am and 3:50pm.  It's only a matter of time before we're down to a whopping six hours of daylight.  Woo-hoo.

Rising and setting times for the SunLength of daySolar noonDate

Things To Do In Juneau: Eaglecrest Ski Area

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One of Cody and I's favorite things to in Juneau is drive up to Eaglecrest Ski Area.  It's only a 7-10minute drive from our house, which is incredibly convenient.  Once the snow hits, this area is open for skiing (my preference) and snowboarding (Cody's preference).  There are tons of "alpine trails" for your winter sport enjoyment during the cold season.  Prices are expensive but that's pretty typical for skiing and snowboarding.  During the summer, Eaglecrest is a popular hiking spot and when the berries start coming in it is the best place to go picking (seriously-DELICIOUS blueberries).  I'd highly recommend a trip up to this beautiful place at any time of the year.  You can check out more about it here.



Cody and I headed up to Eaglecrest this weekend for a hike and we snapped some pictures.  The views were spectacular! The temperature kept us from hiking/exploring for too long though.  It was in the upper 20's and neither of us had busted out ou…

Insta-Lately: Fall in Juneau Edition

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Juneau has been rainy and incredibly October-like these days.  The leaves are red, the wind is howling, and the days are growing shorter.  Fall could not be any more amazing.  I've been snapping lots of pictures lately to capture everything I love about this season.  Here are a few of my favorites from this beautiful month.  Enjoy :)





I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
--L.M. Montgomery

Questions: 
What is your favorite month?
What do you love about October?