Wednesday, July 18, 2018

5 Things to do in Juneau, Alaska

It's Wanderlust Wednesday! Today we're talking about what to do in Juneau, Alaska.


Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, is landlocked. While you can drive all around Juneau, the only way in or out is by boat or plane. It's also big. The Juneau area covers over 3,200 square miles and covers almost as much land as the states of Delaware and Rhode Island put together. With that much space there is plenty to do.

1. Take a seaplane to see the glaciers from above. Glacier flighseeing tours give you a birds eye look at the numerous glaciers in the area. They are quite popular - and a bit expensive.

2. If you'd like another way to see a glacier, check out Mendenhall Glacier. Ship excursions and independent tours go to Mendenhall. If you want the cheapest way to get there, a city bus can get you within a mile or so of the visitor center.
There are several trails around Mendenhall Lake, where the 13 mile long glacier ends. Our favorite one leads to Nugget Falls. More details about getting to Nugget Falls can be found here.

3. Take a ride up the Mt. Roberts Tramway. Soaring 1,800 feet in the air, you'll get great views of the Juneau and Gastineau Channels. At the top you'll find observation areas, a nature center, gift shop, theater, a place to eat, and hiking trails. 
View from the top
View from down below
4. Go on a whale watching tour. The area is abundant with whales. Flukes? Yep. Breaching? If you're lucky.

5. Eat like a local. Breweries and restaurants and cafes. Fish and pizza and local beer. The ship docks within walking distance to tasty food and drink.

How about a Dungeness crab BLT from the Rookery Cafe?


Enjoy Juneau!
Check out the video version of this post here:

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

How to Make Money Pockets and Encouraging Words Labels - Easy Project

It's Tutorial Tuesday and today's project is one dear to me. It's probably not technically a craft project, but it's something you can make so maybe I can count it as one. I definitely count it as a project that helps make the world a better place. Or at least one that makes someone's day.

For the last several years I’ve been giving away dollar bills with notes of encouragement. I used to hand write notes on packs of Post-It notes but I found the adhesive wasn’t sticking in high-humid climates we were traveling to. A couple years back I switched to making my own little money pockets and printing labels for them. I’ve left them in restrooms and airplane magazines and sugar containers. I’ve left them in windowsills and tip jars and hotel room drawers. I’ve left them on buses and taxis and trains. Sometimes I place one somewhere once a day and other days I drop them off multiple times.

For this project you will need:
  • colored paper
  • 1 ½” x 1 ½” printable labels - I use Avery labels, #22805 
  • glue stick - I use Elmer's purple glue stick
  • scissors
  • dollar bills
  • template from here
  • If you'd like the template for the labels themselves (it's a Word document) just email me - link is on the upper right of this page - and I'll send it your way.
You can find the video here:

Today I will be delivering my money pockets all throughout Boise as I make a birthday-freebie run today.  Happy Birthday to me! I'm taking notes today so come back on Friday to find out how the food-filled, freebie-filled birthday went. It's going to be a crazy one.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Cruise Ship Excursions

It's Cruise Ship Saturday! Today we're talking about cruise ship excursions.

An excursion can be a great way to see and do a lot in one port. Ship-sponsored excursions can be reserved through the cruise line’s website ahead of time. They may also be available once onboard at the shore excursions desk. The length and amount of activity on an excursion varies. Tours can run from a sightseeing trolley which requires no walking to hiking a glacier to snorkeling to a helicopter tour of volcanoes. Tour lengths range from 30 minutes to full day. Be forewarned – excursions can be expensive. You can spend $29 for a tour of the city or $599 for a bear watching trip. Shoppers, know that some of the longer excursions may not leave time for you to hit up the stores.

Excursions can also be booked independently. Non-ship excursions can be cheaper in some cases. These can be booked ahead of time or at the port. Hiring a driver to give a tour of the area is another option. This may require some preplanning or may require nothing more than showing up at the taxi stand. Talk to the representative about what you want and agree on a price before leaving. You may be able to negotiate so don’t be afraid to ask. In some ports free or fee-based shuttles take passengers to and from shopping centers or town centers. If renting a car, reservations will need to be made ahead of time.

Both ship and private excursions may be canceled because of weather but some excursions operate rain or shine. 
Swimming with sea turtles excursion. Not canceled.
Yes, I was in the water.
Don’t feel obliged to keep busy with tours the entire time. In many ports wandering can lead to great restaurants and shops. Some of the restaurants may have free Wi-Fi with a food or beverage purchase. There is nothing wrong – in fact there is a lot right – with sitting at a restaurant in Cozumel with delicious margaritas, chips and salsa, banana leaf wrapped tamales, good music, and free Wi-Fi. A very relaxing way to spend a Friday.

Excerpt from CRUISING WITH CONFIDENCE: HOW TO BE A FIRST TIME CRUISER WITHOUT LOOKING LIKE ONE by Deb Pfeifer

Friday, July 13, 2018

Suck the Marrow Spring 2018 Trip, Foodie Edition

It's Foodie Friday! Today we're talking about the best things we ate on our Alaska/Washington/Oregon/Canada road trip and cruise.

With our health and mobility issues it is imperative that we make the most of each day we have. So each time we go away we adhere to my tattoo, a quote from Henry David Thoreau.

"Live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."

Between May 5 and June 4 of this year we:
  • Took three cruises
  • Rented two cars
  • Stayed in 12 different hotels
  • Visited four National Parks
  • Spent time in two countries
  • Traveled to four states
  • Traveled by plane, ship, converted school bus and converted prison bus, double decker bus, coach, train, taxi, car, and shuttle.
  • Went to two Major League Baseball games
  • Won $1279.07 on a penny slot machine
Yeah, we sucked the marrow. But when we take these kinds of trips the same question comes up, a question that is hard to answer. 

What was your favorite part?

Instead of favorites, today I'm going with the best foods we had.

Best Breakfast - Razzy Cinnamon Rolls at the Talkeetna Roadhouse in Talkeetna, Alaska.

Best Dinner - Tacos from Carniceria Los Compadres (a butcher shop/market) in Mt. Vernon, Washington

Best Dessert - Marionberry Cobbler from the Halfway House restaurant in Brinnon, Washington.

Best Car Picnic - On the trunk of the car in a parking lot in Olympic National Park, Washington.

Best Cruise Ship Food - a mini lamb chop from the Most Traveled Passenger Party on the Island Princess.

Best Ballpark Food - Philly Cheesesteak at Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington.

Best Snack Box Provided on a Tour - The snack box we received as part of our Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali National Park.

Best Drink - Hey Ya'll, a hard iced tea we had in Vancouver, Canada.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Suck the Marrow Tour, Spring 2018

It's Wanderlust Wednesday! Today we're wrapping up our Spring tour.

With our health and mobility issues it is imperative that we make the most of each day we have. So each time we go away we adhere to my tattoo, a quote from Henry David Thoreau.

"Live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."

Between May 5 and June 4 of this year we:
  • Took three cruises
  • Rented two cars
  • Stayed in 12 different hotels
  • Visited four National Parks
  • Spent time in two countries
  • Traveled to four states
  • Traveled by plane, ship, converted school bus and converted prison bus, double decker bus, coach, train, taxi, car, and shuttle
  • Went to two Major League Baseball games
  • Won $1279.07 on a penny slot machine

Yeah, we sucked the marrow. But when we take these kinds of trips the same question comes up, a question that is hard to answer.

What was your favorite part?

Let's go with some of the prettiest views instead.

Harbor at Icy Strait Point, Alaska. There was a whale out there on the day we visited.

Flowers at Butchart Gardens, Victoria, Canada. 

Glacier Bay National Park

Moose in the road, Cantwell, Alaska

Penny Slot Win

Nugget Falls at Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska

Denali

Dogsledding Tour, Skagway, Alaska

Drive from Denali to Wasilla, Alaska

Island Princess

Just my prettiest views for the month.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

How to Sew a Quick and Easy Sunglasses Case

It's Tutorial Tuesday and I have a quick and easy project for you (and your sunglasses).

For this project you will need:
  • 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" main fabric
  • 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" lining fabric
  • 8" x 8" fusible fleece like this kind HERE.
  • Something to make a rounded end, like a cup or glass
Check out the video for detailed directions. Enjoy!