camp fire pizza

When I was in Alaska I was blown away by the campfire pizza they made out in the backyard over a hot fire amongst the trees and canopied by a tarps just in case it started raining.


While Hannah and I were out about town and exploring Glacier Lake, her daughter Rebekah prepped everything for the pizza.  She made homemade sauce (red AND white!) and dough, busily chopped vegetables and got the meat ready, too.

Here are a couple of short videos to “set the scene” so to speak.  Hannah and her husband worked like a well-oiled machine and had the entire process down like a science.  I asked her about campfire cooking in general and she said they don’t really have any favorite recipes especially for campfires; they just figure out how to cook their favorite foods over a fire.  They have done A LOT of camping over the years……


seven puppies, my friends, seven puppies…. and the first-time mother dog didn’t ever want to nurse them, thus Jacob’s foot on her neck.  LOL  The puppies spent most of the time wandering around exploring.


I wore thick clothing so as to discourage the mosquitos which were large and very plenteous.  I could kill five in one slap to the leg.


I don’t know where everyone was when I took this photo……which is of a pizza on the fire, covered in foil held down by sticks.  This is the final step in the pizza making, in order to get the toppings melted.  LOTS OF CHEESE.


This was the white pizza with bacon, chicken, and onion…the best pizza I ever had!!!!

(besides my moms…..)


BEAUTIFUL evening.




The fire was extremely hot they had to work fast…….



They made pizza after pizza………



And it was cooked to perfection!





There is LOTS of living going on in our house this summer.  It’s one event after another with not much time to really think or try to be a writer.  My Alaska trip is a fond memory but I haven’t done a thing with my photo albums or scrapbooks.  I’ve hardly looked at my photos or brochures and papers from the trip.  So I am taking the time this morning to post some photos from our journey of 178 miles from Valdez to Kennicott/McCarthy.

We weren’t even out of Valdez before we pulled over on the side of the road to take photos of the falls.  As we opened the doors we were blasted by the loud roaring of the water.  You can’t help but feel happily overwhelmed, almost like a burst of energy from the sounds and sights.  Water poured down the mountains and fed the river below, which whisked it all away, down stream, as fast as it could flow.


We weren’t expecting to see men dangling from a helicopter.  They were replacing the yellow spheres on the power lines.  We had to stop for a few minutes and it was fun to watch them.


We stopped at a convenience store in the middle of nowhere and I saw that someone had planted a bed of flowers in the bed of this old old truck.  Whoever that “someone” is must  be a kindred spirit.


My beautiful friend on another one of our stops.   We took our time driving so we could soak in every sight and breathe in all the fresh air.

I remember the wind was whipping our hair around during this particular stop.



Our favorite Alaskan wildflowers with the suitably romantic name of “Languid Ladies”


Coming into McCarthy I felt as if it were all a dream………

With children and dogs running free without a care in the world.


With my fisheye lens I was able to capture almost the entire town.  😉

“Kennicott and McCarthy sit five miles apart at the end of the McCarthy Road, about 90 miles from the turnoff from the Richardson Highway. Today, Kennicott is a ghost town and McCarthy has a year-round population of just a couple of dozen people. After copper was discovered in the area in 1900, a group of wealthy investors formed the Kennecott Copper Corporation (named when a clerical worker misspelled Kennicott) to mine the incredibly rich veins in the jagged mountains above Root Glacier.” ~the internet


View from an observation deck.


Hannah and I explored the old Kennecott mining town and enjoyed both the big and small details of this amazing place— like the big heavy door in the butchers, and the old iron heaters.


beauty in the details


Post office where I thought of Mom— and my brother who would have certainly quoted the “registered mail” line from the Anne movies……..


The scent of so much wood, sound of our footsteps on the floors, photos, displays, and information on the walls to bring the town to life again in our imaginations.


THIS is a great post to read for more information about Kennecott Copper Mines


All of the buildings are painted in the same color red….truly a sight to behold.   Photos, as always, can’t tell the truth of the place, only give an idea of what it was like to visit.  I felt small and almost lost amongst the grand but now empty buildings.




You can go inside several of the buildings, but then there are several that are still empty and shut off from wandering visitors.

There were tours that you could go on to see more rooms and get access to other places, but Hannah and I much preferred going alone at our free pace.


wooden details


This series of buildings was built up the side of the mountain.


Mountains beyond


Looking from an observation platform; our imagination could see the  bustle and labor of so many men when it was truly a working town.




small family cottage (kitchen) We loved the creamy yellow paint.


We walked through and then turned around to go back again.


Same series of buildings built up and up the hill.





I stood on the bridge to take this photo of the water.  Probably my favorite of the day.




This is a photo of the tiny cabin Hannah and I spent one night in during our visit to McCarthy, Alaska.

Places we Experienced:

Kenny Lake Mercantile (where I saw the truck)
Chitina Hotel (stopped at along the way and ate dinner)
McCarthy Road (62 miles of gravel road we drove to get to our destination)
Wrangell -St.Elias National Park and Preserve (entered as we drove to McCarthy)
Kuskulana Bridge (525 feet long, height above the river, 238 feet) single lane bridge.  Hannah had white knuckles driving across.
Chokosna Trading Post (tiny stop for fresh coffee and where we stopped on our way back with a flat tire) Small but very impressive with excellent coffee!
Gilahina River (sight of an old wooden trestle bridge for the railroad, and gravesite of Sam the dog)
Kennicott*McCarthy (our final destination and one night stay)
Blackburn Cabins (our accommodations)
McCarthy*Kennicott Historical Museum (SO interesting)
EDGE OF ALASKA (show filmed in McCarthy.  We stayed at Mark’s cabins, Mark is one of the characters on the show.  We saw a few of the other men at dinner in town.)



MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS ADVENTURE to come (Sorry, not sorry)…..

PS, please pray for Rich, as tomorrow he has corrective surgery first thing in the morning, and will be having two badly herniated discs in his neck replaced!!!!!  THANK YOU

ALSO:  Happy 13th birthday to my darling son CALEB, who is at wrestling camp until Wednesday with his brothers David and Seth.










June 17; first full day in Valdez, AK


I thought I would post some photos that I took with my phone on the first day at Hannah’s house in Valdez.

She is a very good seamstress and has a whole large room devoted to her sewing.  She has everything she needs there.  Her husband made custom work spaces for her and she has picked up things here and there to decorate with (she even has things she found during her visits to CT!).  She has a flannel wall so she can lay out quilt pieces on it before sewing and a most amazing stock of fabrics.


Hannah doesn’t do much sewing in the summer because she and her family also have a food truck.  She spends most of her extra time keeping it stocked and running smoothly.  They have delicious foods and the best ice cream.  If you’re in Valdez, look them up and go enjoy some yummy Alaskan treats including Halibut tacos and Caramel Cinnamon ice cream.


She drove me all around town and showed me the points of interest, all with the backdrop of the most gorgeous mountains.  It was a rainy morning and perfect for driving and visiting some of the small shops, the library, and a museum.


There is an old Valdez and a new Valdez…..or, “Old Town” and “New Town”.  The first was so severely damaged in a major earthquake that they pulled it down and rebuilt at a different location.  The museum had a scaled model of the old town, posters, photos, videos, and artifacts.


This man had such a friendly smile that his photo made me stop and notice.  He “cared for pets in Old Valdez, acting as the unofficial veterinarian for the town.”


I did a touristy thing.  I held the big gun for a photo.  Thanks, Hannah!


There was a small room dedicated to handiwork and needlecraft.  This quilt was on display with a plaque that explained that as the Quilter’s husband was dying, he asked his wife to spread this flag quilt she was currently making over him.  It was his last request and she never completed the quilt.


As we were getting ready to leave, I heard this man and his wife tell the museum desk worker that they were from “upstate NY” so of course I had to ask where.  Turns out they lived in the same city my Mom works and he grew up in a small town nearby.  He was a Christian and his dad was a Baptist preacher.  He knew last names of my family and my grandfather,  the church I grew up in, the college I attended, and we had mutual acquaintances.  It was such fun!


Large mural in town.


The library!!


I did a whole blog post about our love for Rosemary Wells and she sent me autographed books!  Therefore, it was a great thrill to see her original artwork in the children’s section of Hannah’s library.


We sat and spent the most time in the little “Alaska” library room, which was full of every book about Alaska that they had, including posters and papers.

Hannah found a book and read some of it out loud.  It was written by a man who met the love of his life in Alaska and they had a lifetime of adventures together.


“Ruth with a fifty-five-pound beaver.”


Last photo in the book, “I longed to see Ruth picking wildflowers.”

Oh it was just too delightful.


Also at the library I was able to add Miracles on Maple Hill to my Newbury awards collection because it was on their free shelf.  I also read the whole book while on my trip.  It was delightful and don’t you agree that books are the best souvenier?


We visited the old town sight, which was very interesting.  There is a map of it, and markers to show where each building used to stand.  Some of the buildings were actually moved to the new town and we visited some of those, as well.


**no words** for the beauty.



Two of Hannah and Ryan’s girls; Sarah (the babysitter) and Bekah (the baker).


Their two boys; big brother Jacob set up a tent right in their bedroom and put cots in it.  Then, they strung up the kindle so they could lay there and watch videos in the tent.

And  little brother LUKE.


Luke is 4 years old.


Sarah graciously let me have her bedroom while I was staying with them.



day cruise with my friend

GLACIER:  an extended mass of ice formed from snow falling and accumulating over the years and moving very slowly, either descending from high mountains, as in valley glaciers, or moving outward from centers of accumulation, as in continental glaciers.


Hannah and I took a Stan Stephens cruise and it lasted all day (from about 10am-7pm).  This was toward the end of the week but I was excited to see the photos so I’m going to post them today.

We had some beautiful weather days during my 10 day adventure, but it was raining the day of the cruise.  The cost of the ride included unlimited hot beverages and a nice lunch and a cup of soup in the evening.   The hot beverages were greatly appreciated on this cold rainy day.   There were seats outside and inside.  Naturally we spent most of the time inside, but we got up now and then to take photos of the views; waterfalls, animals, fishermen, mountains, and the glacier.


massive waterfalls tumbling down the mountains; if I were sitting at the top I would be a dot.






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“Do you see the goat?”


I actually enjoyed the “not so nice” weather days, as the mist and rain and fog gave a beautiful mood.



Just in case you’re like my daughter I will tell you like I told her, “It’s just a boulder”.



“Glacier ahead!”


“Hannah in a red coat”


We heard creaks and groans as we bobbed in the sea watching the ice.  Now and then, large pieces of it dropped off and into the water with thunderous splash.



The birds flying in this photo above the water make it easier to see how huge the glacier was.

MEARES GLACIER (click for more information)




Sea Otter




Everyone was in awe to see a mother whale and baby.  We stopped and stared at the sea for so long it is permanently & forever etched in my mind.  You only have a second or two to take a picture.  Don’t blink, you might miss it!


Sea Lions


with lovely brown skins


Seals are funny.




more sea lions, they were also thunderous (like the glacier) and made such rude sounds that reminded me of my sons for some reason.





It was really relaxing but Hannah got a little sick for a while on the choppy water.  She recovered well though and we both agreed that it was an amazing day!



IMG_7352“To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.”
  ~John Muir, Travels in Alaska

I deliberately packed light so I could bring things home with me from Alaska.  It’s a good thing, too, because Hannah and I visited several used bookstores and I found approximately 10 or more titles to add to my Newbery book collection.  I was able to get everything packed and weighing less than 50 pounds for my trip back home, which was yesterday.

I was in Alaska, visiting my friend Hannah, for ten days.

After such adventures in travel and sightseeing, I am happy to report that I am perfectly well, just a little bit tired.  Indeed, it was good to sleep next to my husband last night, with the light of a gorgeous June full moon outside our windows.   Together again.


Thank you to Rich and Hannah’s husband, Ryan, for all they did to make this experience possible.  I flew to Anchorage, and Hannah met me right at the baggage claim to drive me to her house, which was six hours away in Valdez.  The two of us always along famously, with nary an awkward feeling or impatient word or disagreement about our activities.  Well, except for the times when we were fighting over the check.  By the end of our visit, we didn’t even do that anymore.

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As I expected, the views and nature and fresh air were beyond imagination.  The vastness of Alaska is only to be experienced, mere words are inadequate.  I often felt in awe of what my eyes were taking in.  The mountains, the clouds, the trees and flowers, the mosquitos……..


Hannah and I met through blogging years ago, and then we were pen pals, and then she visited my family three times here in Connecticut before I went to visit her.  Our common interests in Jesus and His love and grace, family, motherhood, reading the same books, and many other things kept our friendship going over the last 10 years and more.   We truly do get along comfortably “like two peas in a pod”.

It was a joy to visit Alaska because of her……..















I’ll be sharing photos from the trip for a while.


old sturbridge village

Somehow I lost the original post that I wrote yesterday about Old Sturbridge Village, but here are all the photos once again.  We had a great day with Hannah.  We went on Saturday, on a mild January day.  The last place we visited was the Potter’s shop and then the next day, by God’s plan, we read verses from Jeremiah about God the Potter, who shapes our lives…..Jacob, my son, read them from the pulpit and Sarah recognized the photo on the screen, thanks to the education she received from our lovely day.

“Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you.”

“For what is joy if it goes unrecorded, and what is love if it is not shared?”


Good morning!  Hannah made Seth some joggers yesterday.

She is showing me things that I never dreamed my sewing machine could do.


She used a pattern on one of her favorite online sources:  Patterns for Pirates.

This pattern is called Baby Bear Joggers and she sewed it using a nice thick knit for the fabric.


Seth was so full of energy all afternoon wearing his new pants that it made Hannah laugh and say, “Well, at least we know he has a full range of motion in them!”

He wore them to bed and then wore them to school this morning.


Yesterday was also homemade noodles day.

We went for two walks.


We received a box full of good things as a surprise from Hannah’s mom; homemade jewelry, cookies, candy, and some gingerbread tea which we enjoyed before bed last night.




so far, these cookies are my favorite


THE ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD; homemade chicken and broth with noodles, served over homemade mashed potatoes.


Hannah began making a dress for Grace, a beautiful red and cream lace dress; in which Grace will be sure to look like a Valentine in February.

When Hannah was done sewing for the day, she neatly covered everything up with a tablecloth so the cats wouldn’t eat thread or shred the patterns.


Deep down inside, Sherlock really believes she has thoughtfully made him a bed.


This morning is quiet; the children have gone to school and Hannah is getting dressed while I blog, drink tea, and look out the window with my cat.


“For what is joy if it goes unrecorded, and what is love if it is not shared?”  Jennifer Worth
~quote from an episode of Call the Midwife which we watched last night with our gingerbread tea.

a vole and a mermaid tail


My friend Hannah from Alaska arrived on Friday night and she is quite a talented seamstress so……we went to Jo-Ann Fabrics today and got everything we needed to make clothes.  I say “we” but all I am doing so far is observing and once I held down a pattern so she could cut it without pinning.  I’m keeping her company.  It’s cozy.

As I type, she is at the other end of the table cutting out joggers for Seth and telling me that the sound of the scissors cutting through fabric is a sound of her childhood and that her mom reads my blog (hi Mom!) and she might make me pig earrings someday.

Isn’t amazing that you can print a pattern right off the computer?  The first one (a mermaid tail) was 6 pages printed, and then taped together and cut out.

While she was busy with it, David came inside the house with a bucket.


And this was inside.  We think it is a vole.  Gentleman Gray (the cat) caught it over by the woodpile and David rescued it and put it in a bucket so he could show me.


It was mighty cute and David was very very very gentle with it and put it back on the woodpile after I took its photo.


This is the finished mermaid tail for Bitty Baby and for Sarah, using thick warm fleece.


Hannah is almost done cutting out the pants for Seth and then we have to wait for Jacob to get home with special sewing machine needles before she can start sewing.  We forgot to get them earlier and asked Jacob to stop at JoAnn’s after work.

More tomorrow!

busy kitchen, happy hearts

Good morning, dear friends and relations, it is a beautiful fall day.  The official first day of winter is in one week and it currently does not feel a bit like winter.  Caleb, my precious soft hearted boy, had tears in his eyes this morning as he looked at the weather report for the days leading up to Christmas.  NO SNOW.  He said he prayed about it, too.  He wonders if we will have ANY snow AT ALL this winter.  It’s so important to him that it makes me long for snow, too.  What a happy boy I will have on that day.

I went down to the chicken coop to let out the hens and give them a bowl of leftovers.  I collected three eggs and stood at the pond to look at the beauty around me as I prayed a good morning prayer to God, asking him to send down his blessings on this old world, thanking Him for all He enables us to do each day….learn, grow, think, laugh, praise, heal, feel, work, BE…new creations.  The old has passed away and the new has come like a miracle.  Every good thing comes from above and our thankful hearts please Him.

The birds are happy, too.  I have a feeder by the porch which brings in the songbirds.  They sit in the bushes by the house and take turns flying over to select a seed.

I opened windows and turned on the house fan for some fresh air.  Later on I will go the post office to get a Christmas card weighed because I bought a pack that require extra postage, but how much extra?  I need to figure it out and get to work writing my cards, which I do so love to do, sending out mail is a pleasure.  Receiving it is, too!


How about one last post featuring dear Hannah?  Oh, we had a lovely visit, doing so many simple sweet things together like sing and play piano, put together puzzles, watch TV, go for walks, and……..WORK IN THE KITCHEN.  How fun it is to work side by side with another woman in the kitchen!  Four hands are better than two.  And we were blessed with two little helpers….eight hands ready to work in the busy kitchen.


While Hannah set to work making her famous chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles, I began a batch of Christmas cookies….Russian tea cakes.  I only regret that I didn’t think of sending a box home with her because they are a very sturdy and delicious cookie indeed, able to survive a trip to Alaska.


flour, eggs, butter, water, salt…..such humble ingredients turn into the best of comfort foods…NOODLES


She rolled the dough as thin as possible and then cut the noodles on a cutting board.




Then, she sprinkled them on a floured cookie sheet to dry for a little while.


I put Seth and Sarah to work rolling balls of cookie dough.  “Is this one too big Mom?” she asked.  “Yes, a little.”  “Okay,” she said as she solved the problem by taking a chunk off to put it in her mouth.


just right.


sweet happy Hannah.  In this picture you can see the paper Angel garland over the entry to the dining room.  Hannah bought one for her house, too.  Isn’t it pretty?


The noodles are all cut out and waiting to be placed in hot flavorful chicken broth.



The cookies are done and powdered sugar (which Sarah called flour over and over regardless of my corrections) was everywhere — reminding us of Caleb’s elusive snow.


I left Hannah briefly in order to pick up my teenagers from High School and take a few of their friends home.  When we returned, dinner was done.  She made fresh and creamy mashed potatoes for us to pour the soup over.  Every bit of this meal was homemade and it was so delicious that even though I was filled up by my first helping, I knew it would be a crime not to enjoy a second helping.  So I did.


And it was just what Grace needed to recover from a long long day of school.


But that wasn’t the end of Hannah’s work in the kitchen that night.  As soon as she was done with the chicken, she began a batch of overnight cinnamon rolls.




((By the way, Hannah was wearing an apron that she made for me years ago.))


THE NEXT MORNING……Sarah eagerly watched the cinnamon rolls bake in the oven at 350 degrees.


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The cinnamon rolls were blanketed with cream cheese frosting.


Once again, I helped myself to several cinnamon rolls too many just for the sake of taking advantage of the freshness, the homemadeness, and the lovingness of Hannah’s baking.  Although she mourned what she considered *a shade too brown of a bottom*, let me assure you THEY WERE PERFECTION.


After our cinnamon roll breakfast, we took David, Caleb, Seth, and Sarah to the movies.  But before we did, we attempted a “frameworthy” photo of the two of us.  Forever friends.


That night, Hannah helped us decorate our Christmas tree.  Tomorrow I will share the family photos she took of Rich and I with the kids.  But this next one was one that I had Grace take of the two of us holding books that we bonded over.  I first believed Hannah was a possible kindred spirit because she mentioned on her old xanga blog that she was reading the James Herriot books which I absolutely LOVE.  Then, later on, once we became pen pals and got to know each other better, we read several LM Montgomery books together, including Pat of Silver Bush.

Book recommendations!


“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

“True friends are always together in spirit”  LM Montgomery