Climate Change & Concussions???

For all you climate change and concussion skeptics, and believers, out there:   An interesting article that was sent to me by a fellow PBI Leadership Camp alumn comparing the resistance to hockey-related concussions to that of climate change. Hmmm... Extremely interesting and a must read!

For the Love of Hockey & Food!

Well it's that time of the hockey season again - Steve just left for yet another road-trip.  This time it's a 3-state, 11-game, 20-day road trip! Ouch! Not only does that mean plenty of vegging out on the couch and catching up on my girly shows (cough Pretty Little Liars, 90210 and Gossip Girl cough),  but it also means having waaaaaay too much time to myself.  So, I thought it was about time that I blogged about our Sunday tradition. I guess you could call it both a tradition and a challenge... And it obviously involves food, lots of it! 

We love us some good food! Ever since Steve and I started dating a million years ago, we have branched out and become more adventorous in the kitchen.  Maybe I should rephrase that - Steve has become more adventorous in the kitchen, while I typically sit on the couch with a glass of wine in hand and watch him cook (he's so cute when he's in the zone).  I am very supportive.  Not only does Steve love to cook, but he's really good at it...  Like he's found his calling really good! Thanks to him, our dinners do not consist of your typical meat and potato plate.  For example, this past week after much frustration, he perfected making his own pizza dough and we had potato bacon pizza and a moose sausage, ham and bacon pizza. Delish! (Please do not think that I am a complete wino and dud in the kitchen, I do help out. You can call me his sous chef since I have been known to bring some pretty good dishes to the table. Steve can admit, I make a mean fettucine alfredo with homemade alfredo sauce! I even made a moose/beef meatloaf last week! Impressed myself with that one.)

Anyways, this little foodie challenge/tradition began one night last summer when we were having dinner with four of our very dear friends. We realized that not only were we brought together because of our men's love for hockey (and our love for our men), but also because of our love for food!  The way our challenge works is that every week one couple picks a recipe for another couple and that couple must cook it for everyone (everyone meaning sometimes the 6 of us, sometimes more) that Sunday night.  Still following me? The catch, because there's always a catch:  it has to be relatively inexpensive, contain ingredients we can pronounce and that we might have in our pantries and most of all, be something NEW.  Our own little spin on the FoodNetwork's "Chopped".  Definitely not your normal dinner party! And don't forget the wine, there's always wine!

Oh the things that we've made! Pumpkin and Sausage Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter, Garlic Knots, Orange Sesame Chicken, Egg Rolls, Grilled Thai Beef Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce, Orzo with Vegetables and the list goes on! We even challenged our American friends to make Poutine! I must say, so far there have been absolutely no complaints, everything has been dynamite! 

We have definitely gone outside the box with the recipes, and some have not been easy.  But then again, I guess it wouldn't be called a challenge if it were easy right?! The biggest challenge so far?  I think the award for that goes to Steve and I having to make homemade ravioli for 9 people... 130 raviolis to be exact.  My little sister got the chance to witness Steve and I almost killing eachother while making this meal.  There were times I almost used the rolling pin as a weapon.  But in the end, it obviously turned out to be delicious and well worth the battles in the kitchen.

Tada!  No, the champagne was not to celebrate Steve and I
not killing each other while making the ravioli, our friends had gotten
engaged earlier in the day!

Sunday dinner has always been about a good sit-down meal with family.  It's a time to relax, catch up and chat about the upcoming week.  Our tradition is such a fun way to cap off the busy week, and hockey-filled weekend, and relax with friends, and a nice glass of wine.  It's something we always look forward to in the days leading up to Sunday. While we are not fortunate enough to have Sunday dinner with our own immediate families, we are fortunate enough to share this meal with our very good friends, who are our hockey family... and for me, that's the next best thing :)

I hope that our Sunday dinner tradition inspires you to create one of your own.

        
        Steve taking a much needed swig after
       we finished the homemade ravioli.
Don't let the smile fool you, I was not enjoying this.

For those of you wondering where we get most of our recipes, make sure you check out TasteSpotting.  Possibly one of the greatest websites ever invented. Please click on the recipe name above to go to the original recipe blog. 



Happy Anniversary!

Today marks my 1 year anniversary at the Alaska Zoo.  Wow, has time flown by!  I am truly blessed to have been given this opportunity and couldn't have asked for a better first big girl job!

This past year has been full of meeting new people, creating amazing new relationships (both human and nonhuman) and most of all, filled with many new and incredible learning opportunities and experiences.  I can't even begin to list them all!

Here are some of my fav pictures from the past year.  I'll let them do all the talking...

My first animal friend at the zoo, Peabody the great horned owl
(© Greg Martin 2011)
My girl Maya and I.
Obviously my favorite animal at the zoo, and picture of the year.
 (© Kathryn Roy 2011)
One of my red fox friends, Trip
(© Wales 2011)
Ahpun and Lyutyik playing in the pool.
 (© Wales 2011)
Our life-size plastic bottle polar bears made to promote plastics
recycling within the Anchorage School District
(© Wales 2011)
Qannick - an orphaned polar bear cub from the North Slope
that spent some time at the Alaska Zoo and is now living
at the Louiseville Zoo.
(© Wales 2011)
Looking into the eyes of a polar bear at Polar Bears Intertional's
Leadership Camp in Churchill, MB
(© Wales 2011)
Being Jack Hanna for Jack Hanna at the zoo's annual fundraiser
(© Steve Ward 2011)

A quote that stuck with me from "We Bought a Zoo": "If you had to choose between people and animals, who would you pick?"

I think it's obvious...  I LOVE my job!




Smiles

In honor of Ahpun turning 14 and Lyutyik turning 12, we celebrated Polar Bear Birthday yesterday at the Alaska Zoo.  Saying they loved the huge snow cake and presents we made is an under statement! These two pictures I took of Lyutyik make me smile, so I thought I would share.  
Isn't he a good lookin' boy?!



Photos  ©Marla Wales 2012



Happy Sunday!

The sun is out, the sky is blue, the mountains are clear, there's 3 feet of snow on the ground and temperatures feel like -25F...  What a beautiful Sunday!

The view from our bedroom window - definitely does not get old :)




Organization Smorganization

I'm not a fan of New Years resolutions.  Never have been and probably never will be.  I'm not going to tell myself that I will go to the gym every day because I know that I'm just lying to myself. 

This year Steve has vowed to be more organized, which means keeping our room clean, putting things away when we're done with them, removing clutter, etc, etc.  Here's where we have a problem.  "Mar" and "organized" are not two words you would necessarily hear in the same sentence.  It's just not me.  I'm not a slob or your next hoarders episode, but I'm not ocd about cleaning either.  I know where everything is and I like it that way.  I love writing lists and my day planner is immaculate, but putting things away and decluttering don't always work for me.  It's a struggle Steve and I have every single day when I get home from work.  It starts with him telling me my coat does not belong on the back of the kitchen chair and me groaning while I hang it up in the laundry room.  Why would I do that when I'm just going to wear it again tomorrow!? Bless his little heart, he has so much patience with me.


Since we moved into the new apartment, our room has looked like we're having a yard sale.  We have accumulated a lot of "stuff" since the big move up here and it always seems to be on display.  I have to admit, it is a bit annoying, especially when you're the first to get up in am, the lights are off and you step on or kick something! 

To go along with this new organization thing, Steve has started a new "one in, one out" philosophy, where for every new thing he buys, he tosses one old. That's where my organizing and decluttering stop and I put down my foot.  Simplifying his wardrobe may be for him, but it is definitely not for me.  Girls need their options. "Yes, I need 10 pairs of jeans, one for each pair of shoes I own" or  "Just because I haven't worn that in a year doesn't mean I will never wear it again!  Remember I work at a zoo." I have a hard time parting with my things, clearly.

After seeing Steve's patience slowly turn to frustration, I decided I need to change my ways and get on board with this whole organization thing. And so I spent this past weekend going through my stuff, tossing what I don't need and keeping what I do.  Even though I have a hard time parting with clothes, it was helpful to hear Steve say "If you're not going to wear it, you might as well give it to someone who will."  Good point.

I have recently fallen victim to Pinterest and come across many new, and somewhat inspiring, organization ideas.  While some are a little psychotic and way too organized for me, others are the perfect baby steps I need to become organized Mar.  For example, using shower curtain rings on a wooden coat hanger to organize my 4754837593 scarves (every girl needs that many scarves right?!).  It has totally transformed our closet! Who knew something so simple could make our closet look less cluttered!

It was a struggle, but I now think it's safe to say there may be something between Mar and organized.  As of lastnight, our room looks like something out of a Martha Stewart magazine and it feels good!  (You would be so proud mom!)  Now let's see how long this lasts...



Best of 2011

2011 was a good year, possibly one of the best! Some highlights of the year included getting my first big girl job and everything I've learned/experienced from it, Steve's team winning the Kelly Cup, experiencing our first summer in AK (the entire summer was a memorable one), a new apartment, the start of our Sunday dinner challenge/tradition with friends (which deserves a post by itself... coming soon) and the fortunate opportunity to continue Our Alaskan Staycation.  In the middle of all of these exciting experiences,  I got a new camera and was able to document most of the memories.  Here are SOME of the documented most memorable moments of 2011.  ENJOY :)


P.S.  Have I told you lately how much we are still in love with this place?

Mt McKinely, or Denali, in Denali National Park
Cross fox in Denali National Park during the Griswald Family Vacation (aka Wales Family AK Vacay)
First polar bear sighting during Polar Bears International's Leadership Camp in Churchill, MB, Canada
My little girl, Maya the musk ox.  Friends since she was a day old, 9 months later she is double my weight and still my baby
Our favorite spot in Kincaid Park
Eagle River in the fall
My little buddy Mac, the red fox
The Kelly Cup
Steve fishing in Taku Lake
Our first wild brown bear - A female fishing in the Kenai River





It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood



 
It had been FOREVER since Steve and I both had a day off that allowed us to venture into the great outdoors.  Between work and hockey (including a 3 week long road trip), we just couldn't find the time to go for a hike.  When we both had Boxing Day off, we jumped on the opportunity to visit one of our favorite places in Kincaid Park.  We found this beach on one of our first AK adventures last year.  Despite having more snow than when we visited last year (there is about 3 feet on the ground), it was just as beautiful!



This picture is a perfect example of how cold it has been lately... At least he won't get thirsty if we're out on a hike! (This one's for you Jackie.)

Steve's stache

Home Sweet Home

It's been almost 3 months since we moved into the pad and we have yet to share photos... so here they are...