Around Here - A Season In Transition

 

 

Kids and Eggs - 9

We're still experiencing winter weather. We still have lots of snow, we even were downhill skiing last weekend!   I am hoping that when Spring weather finally does arrive, it will be fast and furious.  Now, bets are on if the ice on the lakes will be melted by the Minnesota fishing opener early May.

Kids and Eggs - 9

The sap is has started to run again.  We have had several days in the past few weeks that the temperature has not reached above freezing.  Just this week the sap started running again.  I plan on collecting for another week, then I am planning on pulling the spiles and boiling down what I have.  

Kids and Eggs - 9I am leaning into traditional rhythms of Spring.  I have eggs in my classroom incubator and I am reading Charlotte's Web to my kindergarten students.  Usually, this happens after our classroom pancake party, where I share syrup made from the sap we collected from our schoolyard maple trees.   This year there is a little overlap, but I am making sure these fun experiences happen.   We are holding off a little bit on our planting. Our school garden will be ready for transplants any time soon.
Kids and Eggs - 9

Taking it day by day, with hope and a knowing Spring will be here soon.  Until then, I am working with intention to enjoy the beauty of this season in transition.

Kids and Eggs - 14

 


Minnesota Parent Column - School Days - April

The April Issue issue of Minnesota Parent Magazine is available throughout Minnesota and online now.

MNP 0418_Cover

My School Days Column this month is "The Family Dinner."  Megan Devine - Minnesota Parent - April 2018

Pick up a print copy, or read the full issue by clicking --> HERE.

Find the online link to my article ---> HERE.

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If you like what you see, social media 'shares' are appreciated!

As always - thanks for reading!


Lake Ski

Lake Ski - BWCA - 1 Lake Ski - BWCA - 3
Lake Ski - BWCA - 3
Lake Ski - BWCA - 3Lake Ski - BWCA - 14

Lake Ski - BWCA - 3
Lake Ski - BWCA - 7
Lake Ski - BWCA - 7
Lake Ski - BWCA - 7
Lake Ski - BWCA - 7 Lake Ski - BWCA - 9
Lake Ski - BWCA - 9
Lake Ski - BWCA - 9
This past weekend, the temperature and conditions were PERFECT for lake skiing.  I went out on my skate skis and flew!    

My destination was a unique spot in the BWCA Wilderness that exhibits one of the finest examples of Native American pictographs.   I try to make it out to this special place at least once a year.   We usually do this trip as a family, but, on this day,  I could not convince anyone in my household to join me except my trusty canine companion, which was a different, a bit more exhilarating experience. 

On my return trip, I followed the perimeter of the lakes, exploring the bays and quiet far corners of the hibernating wilderness.

What morning!

 


Off the needles - Easy Folded Poncho



Easy Folded Poncho - Megan Devine - 2

Easy Folded Poncho - Megan Devine - 2
Easy Folded Poncho - Megan Devine - 2I recently took my first big knitting project off the needes.   I have been dabbling fiber art over the years, but knitting has been an area where I have had marginal success and has seemed more frustrating than fun.

I found out, through some exploration, that my frustrations were related to my technique.  I actually was not knitting correctly!  I had picked up some bad habits right from the start.

Knitting has been something I wanted to relearn, the correct way.  So, upon recommendation from a friend, I started and recently completed, this Easy Folded Poncho.

Working on the project, I found that I like large, repetitive knits that do not require a lot of thinking.  I am very pleased with how this project turned out and I think I am hooked on knitting!

 


Interview with Maya Wilson author of the Alaska From Scratch Cookbook (plus a giveaway!)

In my role as a writer, I have found opportunities to make unique connections with people from all over the world. This is a gift that connectivity through the internet has given us in the 21st century, which I have leaned into, both in my personal and professional life.

Over the years, I have shared many of my conversations with other writers in my author interview posts. I enjoy this avenue of learning about and from others. I also enjoy the creative process of asking questions and turning my conversations into a post to share with hope to inspire others as well.

I recently had an opportunity to share a conversation with Maya Wilson, author of the newly released book Alaska From Scratch. Maya is a mom of three, blogger and food columnist living on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. I first came across Maya’s blog a couple of years ago when I was searching for a recipe for Halibut Tacos, to savor and enjoy some of the last of the halibut steaks that we had in our freezer from one of our most memorable family vacations. (In 2013 we flew to Anchorage and rented a camper and explored the Kenai Peninsula.)

Megan Devine - AlaskaVisiting Alaska was absolutely amazing experience, one that I will never forget.  I hope to find an opportunity to find my way to Alaska again, maybe going back to the Kenai Peninsula, or maybe exploring a different area of the vast state.  In the meantime, I have enjoyed seeing pockets of the Alaskan landscape shared by following Maya’s Instagram feed and most recently in her book Alaska From Scratch.

Alaska From ScratchEnjoy and be inspired by our conversation!

On the recipes you feature on your blog you share a little bit about your surroundings (ex. Temperature, what you are listening to).  Tell me about your surroundings and perspective, today on this day of our conversation.

Today we are expecting snow, it is about 22 degrees.  The sun is shining.

Typically, I'm homeschooling my 7th-grade son this time of day while my oldest and youngest are at public school, but this week is different because it’s spring break and they’re all on vacation. 

Later on, I will be going to the grocery store in preparation for some recipe testing.

Maya Wilson - Alaska From Scratch
Your photographs and narratives a dimension to your book that makes it much more than a cookbook.  When I first received it, I was drawn in by the feelings of comfort and warmth evoked on the front cover image, as well as the striking, scenic pictures of Alaska and that of the food and beverages you feature throughout the book.   Tell us a little bit about your career as a writer and photographer as developed and grown

I started my blog 2011 after my family made a big move from California to Alaska.  We sold almost everything we had and started our new life, from scratch, on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. My blog has been an outlet for me to share snippets of beautiful Alaska with my friends and loved ones who were outside of the state and also to share, given my perspective living in a more remote community my journey cooking from scratch.  I have always loved writing and being in the kitchen and my blog has been a creative outlet to merge those two passions.

From there it grew.  My blog became more popular and as the blog grew I grew as a writer and photographer.  I got more practice the more I wrote and my writing developed a rhythm. I learned from my readers, their comments and I have grown in courage and confidence finding my own voice and it has become who I am.

I was invited to write a food column for the Anchorage Daily News, which has given me experience writing for a different audience.

Writing a cookbook has been a unique experience as well.   I like to think of my book as part cookbook, part memoir and part love letter to Alaska.   

Maya Wilson - Alaska From Scratch

Why Alaska?   Summarize for my readers about your journey and how you found yourself where you are today.   

When I was living in California the pace of life was not healthy for our family.  It was too intense. There seemed to be such a focus on workaholism and outer appearance.  I had reached a point of burnout and our family made an intentional change gravitating toward a slower, more intentional pace of life where we could live from a quieter, more simplified and centered place.

Maya Wilson - Alaska From Scratch 1

In your book, you talk about how, growing up in poverty, you learned at an early age how to cook out of necessity, in your words, “to make something out of nothing (or very little).”  Describe to my readers how this helped prepare for life as a food blogger and columnist in Alaska. 

We moved up to Alaska in the wintertime, so it was if I was plunged into a frozen wasteland.  Access to grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops are not as conveniently located here and fresh produce can be very expensive.  I learned quickly that if I didn't have something I have to make it myself. My childhood was marked by food insecurity, when I was younger I learned how to make something out of very little.  In Alaska, when faced with different, but similar challenges related to access to food, I realized that I could do it, because I had done it before, but this experience was framed around a much more positive experience.

Maya Wilson - Alaska From Scratch 2

What advice would you give to others, like me and many of my readers, who are inspired share themselves with the world through their writing, photography and other creative outlets.

With my blog I have developed the confidence through practice to lean in with purpose and resolve, finding my own style and voice.   To do this you need to take some creative risks.  At first, I wanted to please everyone, but I learned that this was not possible.  This was evident with some of the comments on my blog. Over time I learned how to weed out feedback that was constructive and valuable vs. what I needed to leave behind.

It is important to find your own voice, don’t try to emulate anyone else, whether that would be bloggers or photographers.  Find your own style and voice. When you share what is unique about you, that is what will make you successful. Readers will come because it is something they have not seen or heard before because it is you.

Remember to be confident with who you are and what you are putting out there.

What’s next for you?

I don’t fully know the answer yet.  I have an upcoming book signing tour and some food demos schedules.

don’t fully know the answer yet.  I have an upcoming book signing tour and some food demos scheduled.

Recently I’ have been working on some projects with Alaska Seafood Marketing

Now that the book is on the shelves, I will see what other opportunities present themselves.  I think it is likely I have another book in me. 

Photo credits: Maya Wilson

Thank you, Maya, for this inspirational conversation.  I wish you the best in the success of your book!

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Now for more fun!  I am happy to share that I have the opportunity to offer Kids and Eggs reader a chance to win a copy of Maya's book!

To enter to win, simply leave a comment on this post.  

If your comment is selected by the random number generator, you'll win!  Giveaway ends  3/30/18  7:00 a.m. CST.

terms of the giveaway:  no purchase necessary - entrants must be U.S. residents


Easter Inspiration

If you are crafting with kids, this is the time of year for Easter projects.  In my classroom, we have quickly jumped from shamrocks to Easter eggs, baskets and bunnies.  Here's are a couple of snapshots of the paper mache Easter baskets my kindergarten kiddos completed this week:

Easter - 1 (1)

Easter - 1

Soon we'll do dye some Easter eggs at home.  If you are thinking the same thing check out these articles that I wrote from the archives of mothering.com for some inspiration:

IMG_2261Go Natural This Easter: How to Dye Eggs With Natural Items ...- Mothering

Ukrainia-Easter-Egg-1DIY: How to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs - Mothering

 


Around Here - 3/18



Weekending - Megan Devine - 5 (1)

I am transitioning back into my running shoes.  Track started this week.  I am helping out this season again, assisting with the girl's team, being inspired and staying active with a group of strong and fun girls.

Weekending - Megan Devine - 5 (1)

The sap is running.  After a stretch of cold days that slowed the sap run down a bit, the weather warmed up enough late in the week for the sap to start running again.   This past weekend topped out around 50 degrees!  Tomorrow I will be collecting the sap from the weekend with my students, cooler weather may slow things down again this week.  We will have to see what I am able to get.  So far it has been a slow start.  I have only collected about 3 gallons from 9 taps.  I am hoping for close to 40 gallons before I need to pull the taps.  Time will tell.
Weekending - Megan Devine - 5 (1)

We are still enjoying the snow.  We have been spending our weekends at a nearby ski resort.  Both the alpine skiing and Nordic ski trails were a delight the last few days.  We have been having so much fun spending long stretches of time outdoors, getting exercise.  The sun and vitamin D has been revitalizing!

Giants Ridge with Sharon and Ron - 2Weekending - Megan Devine - 5 (1)From my corner of the world to yours, wishing you the best at the start of this new week!


Minnesota Parent Magazine - School Days Column - March

The March Issue issue of Minnesota Parent Magazine is available throughout Minnesota and online now.

MNP 0318_CoverRGB

My School Days Column this month is titled "A Blog of Gratitude".

Megan Devine - School Days March - Minnesota Parent Magazine

Pick up a print copy, or read the full issue by clicking --> HERE.

Find the online link to my article ---> HERE.

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If you like what you see, social media 'shares' are appreciated!

As always - thanks for reading!



On the Slopes.....(and lunch).

On the Slopes - 1

After our long dark winter, the return of light and warmer weather is upon us.   We have a solid foundation of snow, perfect for enjoying outdoor winter sports.  

Now that our children are all big enough, strong enough, and independent enough we can manage, and enjoy alpine skiing with four kids.    We are taking advantage of all of the Spring snow (and some spring sales promotions) and committing to spend some time (off screens and outdoors together) this March at a nearby ski resort.   Yesterday, we purchased season passes that will cover this March and all of next year and we had our first big day out yesterday.    We had so much fun!

As a larger family, outings and activities like this take saving and planning to pull of.   We spend our money wisely and prioritize our spending.   When we head to the ski area you'll most likely find us in the picnic chalet, not at the lodge, cafeteria or restaurant, as we rarely go out to eat.

Bottom line, our kids just eat too much, and we don't want to spend restaurant prices feeding them.

Be entertained by what I packed and what was consumed yesterday at our "picnic lunch."

  • 24 Hawaiian Roll ham and cheese sandwiches
  • 1 jar of black olives
  • 1 family size bag of Cheetos
  • 1 bag licorice
  • 1 gallon bag of chopped vegetables with hummus dip. 
  • 1 quart bag of venison jerky.

I don't know what we will do to feed them when they are all teenagers, but I do know our hope is to continue to have fun with them!