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Monday, November 30, 2009

So much fun at Thanksgiving!

I know, I know, I'm a bit late.

Keira - 7, Kaisa - 6, Clara - 8!

I've been holed up with an entire family of sick people. We had THREE Thanksgiving dinners, and then the twins came in a day early and it was hustle, bustle, no time for Blogging or Facebook. GASP!

But, now I'm back. Not quite back at work, but I'd like to share with you OUR Thanksgiving.

Kaisa's sign, oh so fitting!


The girls and I baked and baked the day before, making two pumpkin pies, an apple pie, and a pumpkin cheesecake.

The boys? They went out hunting and brought home two caribou!

Yes, MY boys all have blood all over their parkys. Sigh...its a never ending battle with blood when you have hunters in your house!

At four o'clock in the morning, I woke up remembering that I hadn't put the turkeys (yes, TWO twenty pound turkeys) in the Brine...and OH MY GOSH, they weren't gonna turn out if they weren't brined!

So, I got up. So my turkeys could look like this, and be the juiciest turkeys you've ever had!

And then I couldn't sleep, so I made myself a timeline of everything that had to go into the ovens, and out of the ovens (I have two kitchens in my house. :) Comes in handy for Thanksgiving with lots of people!) and on the stove and in the fridges. I needed to make sure the stuffing was ready when the potato salad was ready...and the turkeys came out of the oven at least twenty minutes before dinner, so they could "rest!"

By two o'clock I was ready for a nap.

But, no naps later, by six o'clock we were ready for dinner. Everyone arrived safe and sound by six ten and we were ready to eat.

And eat we did.

But that's not the important part of Thanksgiving! Its the GAMES we play afterwards!

Like Eskimo Bingo. We totally played Eskimo Bingo for like an hour. The Prize-everyone-wanted was one of Dean's knives. Cody FINALLY ended up with it. It was bittersweet. He cried and laughed and was so excited that I think he slept with it that night!

The boys wrestled with each other, with the adult men, cause you know, adult men need someone to beat up every once and a while. And thirteen year old boys need to feel like they're better than an older man every once and a while. So, it was fitting to watch wrestling on my living room floor.

I'd like to say its an old Eskimo tradition to Wrestle, you know, to show the men how tough they were when wrestling a polar bear or wolverine or something, but I'm pretty sure its not. Its just our tradition!

The chicks played Snerts until the babies and kids were too tired to stay up any more. We made sure everyone who ended up with Eskimo Bingo Prizes took them HOME! Or tried to at least.

And of course...after dinner, we simply digested our food and enjoyed life.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

These Boots were made for...

Fishing, Hunting, Snowmachine-ing, walking, and staying WARM.

Not only are they super functional, they're BEAUTIFUL.

My mom made these for me a few Christmases ago, and I LOVE them. They're made with Caribou on the bottom, calfskin, beaver and leather. I love the traditional criss cross of the Siniqs (straps).

We use Mukluks for a lot of things. These were meant for Max, but I've been wearing them since I can't wear "normal" boots, because of my foot. Mukluks its been since I figured out that they fit!

Aana Lena made these out at her camp at the mouth of the Noatak River. She is one of probably just a handful of people who still live at camp year round. She sews mukluks and mittens and parkies for her family. I'm lucky to have her as part of my extended family.

She made them with canvas, some synthetic lining, and leather. I wear yarn socks with them, both inside the house as slippers, and outside the house as boots. Not quite as warm as the fur ones, but when we wear them outside, we wear fur "socks" inside...and Sorel insoles! :)

When I was growing up, we wore mukluks all winter long. I remember, all I wanted for Christmas was a pair of those cool Sorel Boots with the Felt insoles. They were SO cool compared to my ugly mukluks. Only COOL kids had sorels. And I didn't.

Now...I would give anything for a pair of Tuutulik Isiqtuuqs. (Caribou skin mukluks that go all the way up to your knees. You don't know warm until you've had a pair of these!)

I guess I'll have to make my own. Sigh. Sorry Mom for complaining all those years. Sorels? UGLY.

Only cool people have Mukluks!

So, what kind of boots do YOU wear!? And, who made them!? (probably some kid in China working for 12 cents an hour!) ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


So, what do YOU do at bible study?!

Cause we have FUN. And by Fun, I mean, this only shows a FEW of the "tats" that I did on our Saturday night Bible Study.

The others were a little to risque...and in super-secret, "lets-find-the-tattoo" places.

And we studied, we did!

I paint kids faces up in the Arctic. Fun for them, fun for me! I use Wolf paints from as well as Kryolan paints. I also use regular cheap paint brushes from Michaels. They work fine.

Today was "wacky hair day" at school for the little one. So, wacky we did. Can everyone tell? Momma's home!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bake Sale Thank YOUS!

So, as many of you may know, I've been out of work for a while (since October 3rd) and somewhat unable to do "stuff" to make enough money to keep afloat. I'm not complaining, it just is the preamble to the following happiness I must exude!

My friends and family and I decided to have a BAKE SALE on Friday. I mean, the only thing better than baking for your loved ones is baking for a cause. Junior needs new wrestling shoes, or Son-Son is in the hospital, so LETS have a Bake Sale! Any number of Friday's you can find different organizations and clubs hosting a Bake Sale at the Post Office here in town. So right now, the cause of the month is my family.

So, bake we did. And bake, and bake and bake. And Bake. We decided to have the sale at my house, since I wanted to continue baking throughout the day...and during lag times, I could totally check my Facebook! (Priorities man!)

I mean, us Eskimo's LOVE us some baked goodies. And Eskimo's love to bake. My family LOVES to bake. And when I say "Bake" I'm talking about making bread. Any sort of bread. And we don't use recipes.

So, I wanted to THANK everyone for their help, their baking and their buying. The well wishes, and the laughs.

Thank you MOM for baking 15 HUGE loaves of homemade Bread, the kind that I grew up on, the bread that brings me back to the no-flush toilet days when we had to take showers on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at the Rec Center and do our laundry and dishes by hand. Thank you for your awesome cinnamon twists too. They were a huge hit! (I totally saved two loaves for me and Saima!)

Thank you Auntie Wynona (Noo-noo) for making four awesome Jello cakes, and I forever forgive you for cutting my finger when you cut my fingernails when I was a few days old!

Thank you Kookie for bringing Popcorn Balls and Caramel Corn. The popcorn balls were gone in a minute and the caramel corn was so good, I ate almost an entire bag, and then had to sit down cause I was dizzy!

Thank you Chris for coming over and baking our emotions away! The Pumpkin Bread was WAY BETTER THAN Great Harvest! And cheaper too. I have one loaf left but would LOVE to get your recipe for my someday-wish of having a coffee shop.

The Caramel Nut rolls were so good that people bought them right out of the oven when it opened! If there was ever a reason to have Smell-O-Vision, the Caramel Nut Rolls would be IT.

Thank you Shayne for bringing Pumkin Rolls. Agnes bought them ALL! After Elsa and I tested one! Whenever you decide to open your bakery, I'll invest. I don't have money now, but someday I will and I will throw it at your baking skills anyday!

Taikuu Vera Jane for bringing Qayusaaq. Uncle Claude loved it, and my son ate probably four cups worth. I love Qayusaaq with bread. (Non-Eskimo's: Qayusaaq is a cranberry pudding type food made with boiled cranberries, splenda, water and a flour mixture to thicken it up. It is THE BEST dessert around!)

Thank you Elsa for making the Awesome Cherry Jubilee Cheesecake Bars. I tried a bite and they were SO GOOD. And apparently everyone else loved them too cause they were GONE in a matter of minutes! (Thanks Lola for buying SO MANY Cherry Chip Cake Mixes!)

Thank you Kelly for bringing over the Raspberry Bars. I had attempted to make Cranberry Bog Bars and left while they were baking. My mistake. I left my husband and a timer on, but they burnt anyway. These were just like the cranberry ones and I have to admit, I ate THREE. Yum. I love ANYTHING Raspberry. And Raspberry with Oatmeal, even better!

Thank you Sandy for bringing over atikluks and earrings and fun stuff to sell. I really appreciate it and thank you for thinking of me at work! I'll admit, I tried the atikluks on Kaisa, but they didn't fit! haha. Thank you.

And Thank you Kathleen for helping and bringing over the CUTEST cupcakes EVER. Homemade Cream filled cupcakes with pink cherry cream frosting, made in ice cream cones with sprinkles and marshmallows. I actually "bought" a dozen for my daughter and niece. They LOVE them. LOVE them, and I do too!

As for me...aside from the botched Cranberry Bog Bars (poor, poor bars...), I made doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, cranberry nut bread, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin bread, and more. Dean made knives, and ulu's.

Lastly a HUGE Thank you to my mother in law, Emily and Auntie Florency. I swear, I have heard awful M.I.L. stories, and I'm sorry, but I can't relate because MY mother in law is the BEST. She completely loves me, and my children and always takes care of us. She is just an outstanding and amazing woman and I really, really mean that! She and Florency sent us "some groceries" and when we picked them up, it was EIGHT totes and boxes worth of groceries. EIGHT. Like as in FOUR HUNDRED and FIFTY pounds worth of groceries. So, THANK you both for that!

Not pictured are the 50 lbs of flour, 50 lbs of sugar, 20 lbs of potatoes, case of paper towel and case of tissue.

So, from the top to the bottom of my heart. Thank you all for your donations, hard work, friendship and more.

(Kookie is planning a dinner at the Catholic Church this Friday. We're trying to decide what to serve...spaghetti, chili, or indian taco's...any suggestions?!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Anivililuk Tuutin Aana...

The most influential story I have ever heard came from my maternal grandmother, my Aana Katak. Since today is her 82nd Birthday, I thought I'd share it.

She is whom I am named after, and whom I share the closest bond with in my family. She taught me how to overcome, how to be strong and how to be an Inupiaq Woman in a fast changing world. She took care of me then, and now we take care of her. Happy Birthday Aana. I love you more than words can describe.

When I was younger, I wasn't too keen on the idea of having a sister. She was sort of annoying, and always followed me around like a puppy with her big brown eyes and Dora the Explorer haircut (AKA the Finnish haircut).

She tattled on me and pretty much didn't let me do anything "fun" with my cousins.

I went to visit my aana one day and upon asking me how I was doing, I belted out, "I hate SAIMA ANNIE!"

She said to me, "you don't hate her...she's your sister. Sister's don't hate sisters."

I told her she didn't understand. So she sat me down and told me this story:

"One time, when I was about 8 or 9 me and my sister Anna, who was 16, and a few of my cousins were going to go ice skating on the (Noatak) river. We went out, the boys took their niksiks (hooks) and we tried to find a good clean patch of ice to skate on.

We were having lots of fun, skating and hooking on the ice. All of a sudden me and the boys heard a crack. It was like someone was snapping a whip and it kept happening. Crack, Crack, CRACK.

Finally, the boys were yelling around that someone was under the ice. I ran over there and Anna had fallen in the ice, but she was still about halfway up on it. The boys were trying to throw their hooks to her, and she was trying to grab the lines, but they kept busting. Every time she got up on the ice, she fell back down.

The boys were yelling to run to Noatak to get help. I don't know who ran, but someone did. I watched as she got up and fell, got up and fell.

When she hit the current on the side of the river, she kept going under the water and then we would her her bang, and I could see her long black hair under the ice. The ice wasn't that thick, so we could see her under there hitting the top of the ice.

A man came running up and banging the ice. The men and boys took turns tying a rope around their waist and jumping in after her. But, after that, she was gone.

I remember her smiling at me, and never fighting with me. All she did was take care of us girls. Because that's what older sister's do. No matter what. I miss my sister Anna."

She cried, I cried. And to this day, I have always, ALWAYS taken that into consideration when I think about my sisters. I absolutely LOVE my sisters and I completely believe it is because of how that story affected me.

So, for that, Thank you. And for an entire host of other things, like teaching me to survive in a sometimes harsh world, teaching me to sew, showing me unconditional love, and spoiling me rotten when no one else would, I LOVE YOU.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY...and Many, MANY more years to come.

(This was taken a few weeks ago at my uncles funeral. Who is resting in Heaven after a long battle with Cancer.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monkey Bread...

World's Best.

Of course, I may be a little biased.

And they are full fat, ooey, gooey, carbalicious, and full of caramel sugary goodness. Great with a full fat latte' with caramel syrup!!!

Monkey Bread

4 small cans generic refrigerator biscuits
2 sticks of butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
(or you can put like 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
1 cup or so Chopped pecans, or Walnuts
1 cup CRAISINS (or raisins, or dried cherries, or blueberries, or whatever!)

Get a bundt cake pan and blow out the dog hair from it. :)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan place the butter, brown sugar, and spices on medium heat until the sugar is ooey and caramely. (into a syrup) Sprinkle some nuts and craisins onto the bottom of the pan, then drizzle a few spoonfuls of syrup on top.

Have your kids cut the refrigerator biscuits into quarters. Place two cans of biscuits on the bottom of the bundt pan, then drizzle a little over half the syrup, nuts and craisins onto the top of that. Cut the rest of the biscuits up and place them in the pan. Drizzle the rest of the syrup, nuts and craisins on that.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes, invert onto a pretty pie plate (cause that's what fits) and ENJOY with your latte'!

Even better the next day! Just microwave for 30 seconds and enjoy! AND EVEN BETTER that your KIDS can do the ENTIRE thing on their own! :)

Yummm. :)