Monday, December 31, 2012

Year 2012 Recap

Last year I did a quick recap of Year 2011, and decided I wanted to do it again, this year. But, whoa, Year 2012 was a very busy year for us. We loved it, but wouldn't mind if 2013 was a bit quieter, heh heh... All in all, it was a great year!


Early January found us in Maine and in Virginia
. The Captain, and two children left Florida to prepare our little cabin for our family in Maine, and to oversee renovations on our Maine camp. I took three children with me, and visited my sister in Virginia for good part of January.

Homeschooling with AOP Monarch allowed our teens to work on school wherever they were. I would check their schoolwork online, and we'd communicate via email and phone calls. Little Miss did a lot of Kindergarten work in Virginia with her cousin. Missy started dance lessons in Maine, both tap and jazz.

Once we were all together again in Maine, we played in the snow a lot. After all, all of us squeezing into our little cabin felt quite claustrophobic! But, we kept telling ourselves: we had more room than in our Mothership motorhome... Laundry was done at the town laundromat - not fun. Our fridge was smaller than the one in our RV, and the town only had a small grocery store. Definitely challenging (three or so months). (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Phil. 4:13 - was very true!)

We also celebrated Captain's Grandmother's 95th birthday with family. Happy Birthday, Nanny!!

At the end of the month we took our first snowmobile ride of the year.


We were outside a lot! Snowmobiling, skiing, sledding and cross-country skiing. While the rest of the country was lacking in snow, we had enough for us. I wrote two articles on snowmobiling, you can read them here and here.

We had a quiet month, no travels for us in February, but we got a lot of homeschooling done. One of our favorite science experiments was frozen bubbles. Camp renovations continued on. We survived The Stomach Plague of the year without a washing machine, and having very limited bathroom facilities. Yuck.


In March we managed to squeeze in a trip, doctors visits, school and play. Towards the end of the month we started getting mud. And the lake started showing signs of thawing. Still working on our camp, too - which didn't help in the mud department (all the vehicles in and out of our driveway).

For play we did snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling, and waterskiing (yes, check it out!). As a homeschool science experiment we ate snow, and we celebrated Little Miss' 6th birthday!

Things got very interesting when I slipped on ice, and dislocated my shoulder. All dish duty (no dishwasher in our cabin) and various other mama jobs landed on our teens' shoulders. Literally.

The Captain and I had a lovely trip to Dallas on business. Dislocated shoulder, and all.


Big news!!! Snow started melting, which meant ice out - which meant swimming, yay! Brrr, lol!! Also, True Mud Season started, March was nothing compared to April's mud. The town pretty much closed also, including the laundromat, but fortunately our camp had a working washing machine for part of the month.

Huge progress in camp renovations, and my mom came to visit from Finland. We had hoped to be in Florida by now, but due to camp progress couldn't. But it was very exciting to see the ice disappear on lake.

Missy's dance school had recitals, and she was able to attend last classes, and the recital (the recital link also includes a spring homeschool update). We spent Easter weekend at our camp, and visiting Captain's parents and family in southern Maine.


Spring tends to be complicated for us, and this year was no exception. Since my mom was staying with us in Maine (working, working, working on our camp clean-up), Captain and I flew to Virginia for a mini visit with my sister's family. They had graciously hosted some of our furniture (don't ask) in their garage, so we finally went there, rented a U-haul, and brought it all up, bringing kitchen appliances up at the same time.

We worked hard on the camp to be able to bring the furniture in, and actually started moving into the rooms that were ready.

Middle of May we all left our camp, my mom flew to my sister's house, Captain went on a men's retreat, and the kids and I spent some time in New Hampshire with friends (even traveled down Memory Lane - aka our old road, sniff). Once the Captain got back, our family flew to Florida, where our Mothership motorhome awaited for us.

We attended FPEA homeschool conference in Orlando, which was a fantastic experience!!! During the conference Missy got glasses!

We had a lovely time in Florida, visiting some of our favorite spots.


Part of the first week of June we had a vacation on the beach, in our Mothership. It was glorious. I think we did a little school, a lot of beach, and a lot of rest, which was great after such a hectic May. After that, we spent three days at Disney Wilderness Campground, but didn't go to any of the parks. We met with our New Hampshire friends at Downtown Disney for a dinner together, then started driving North.

We stopped in Virginia for about two days to see my sister and her family, which is always special. I wasn't able to do a lot of blogging on the road, but posted this twitter feed of our travels.

On our way up North we stopped in Pennsylvania, and toured Hershey Chocolate Factory. Which was super lame (fortunately free!), but at least their factory outlet store had some great deals on chocolate, yum!

Our next stop for a couple of days was New Hampshire. Great time with friends!

Our second to last stop on this trip was Grandma and Grandpa's house. We stored the Mothership in their barn for the summer months this year, and spent Father's day organizing, packing and cleaning. The same night we continued on, and made it back to our camp, finally.

We spent a week or so at our camp, had friends visit us from Kansas, and really enjoyed the cooler summer temps up North.

We still worked on homeschool, as during travels we didn't always have reliable internet.


One of July's highlights was our annual trip to Nantucket for 4th of July. It is time with Captain's family, and we fully engage in all of the island's fun festivities. Missy brought watermelon home again, also check year 2010 and year 2011 (year of the Nanny!!).

After Nantucket we had a few days up in Maine, before our teens headed to summer camp in New Hampshire. During camp Little Miss and I spent some time with Captain's grandmother Nanny, and Captain's sister's family.

We discovered summer in Maine is pretty sweet, too! And finally finished our homeschool year. Whew. Just in time, as Little Miss received her first grade material in the mail!


Our August Adventure was sailing! We found an old sailboat for our lake, and after the Captain and the boys fixed it up, they first had a dry lesson on land, before their first sail. The Captain also taught the boys how to capsize the sailboat.

While we were having summer vacation from homeschool (other than sailing aka the homeschool PE), Little Miss wanted to do some school. I think the boys' online government class started in August, also.

No travels in August!


Mr. D broke his toe
, and spent a good part of September recovering. We stayed put for most of the month, and had guests pretty much every week (or weekend), including my sister and her family from Virginia!

We officially started homeschool fall semester, Missy started dance classes again, and Little Miss started ballet! Mr. A had saved up for a bow and arrow, and started practicing his new hobby. All boys got to try shooting, also.

We picked blueberries, and made blueberry pies. More work was done on the camp. September was beautiful in Maine! After a storm we thought we had lost the sailboat, but found evetually all pieces.

Captain and I took a quick trip to Montreal with business (pictures here and here).


Fall foliage was gorgeous in Maine this year (pictures here and here)! Although we saw our first snow in early October... Nevertheless, we still had our dips in the lake. We picked apples and made apple pie.

Mr A and Mr D tried zip lining for the first time. We studied beavers after a beaver decided to munch on one of our trees.

Due to hurricane Sandy we had to delay our departure to Florida, and waited out the storm. We left Maine in our Mothership RV on Halloween night.


We drove to Pennsylvania via New Hampshire, and spent a wonderful weekend with friends near Scranton. Got exciting news: my sister's family welcomed a baby girl on the 2nd of October! We decided to visit them on our way back north, and headed straight to Florida from Pennsylvania.

We had a great time being back in the Mothership, and back in Florida! While in St. Pete, we had a fun outing to VW Bulli Brigade.

Our Florida travels took us also to Miami, Orlando for Thanksgiving, and to Florida Keys. We really enjoyed visiting Long Key, Key West and Bahia Honda State Park. And in Key West our sail on Schooner Hindu was the highlight of that whole trip to the Keys!

It was hard to leave beautiful St. Pete and Florida, but we were very antsy to see our new cousin!

Another whirlwind month for us! After meeting Baby C (and my mom!) at my sister's house in Virginia, and spending a couple of days with cousins (we got to go to Christmas Town!), we said our good-byes, took my mom with us, and headed back to Pennsylvania. We had made plans to store the Mothership near Scranton, so we went back to our friends' house, organized, packed and cleaned our RV, and left it in Pennsylvania.

Sounds fairly easy, but it was nothing but. You can read more here. We needed to rent a minivan to get home, and drove straight to southern Maine. A night there, and then drove the rest of the way back to our camp. I think I'm getting old. I don't know how long I can keep up with this pace!

We had a nice Christmas, and right before Christmas we celebrated birthdays and adoption days. I loved having my mom help with preparations. When we got to Maine there was barely any snow, but since then we have gotten several snow storms. On Christmas the lake froze over, as well.

So there. A full 2012 for sure. And congratulations if you actually read this whole long post:)

Happy New Year 2013 to all my readers!! Hyvää uutta vuotta 2013 kaikille lukijoilleni!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day Surprise/Joulupäivän yllätys


Our Christmas Day surprise wasn't in the stockings...


Our surprise was waiting outside the window - the lake froze Christmas night!!!


It was a cold and beautiful day, perfect for trying out new snow toys (these scooters are great, the ski attachment comes off, the scooter folds together, and the boys can use them in our Mothership RV travels!!), and perfect for bundling up and bringing out the camera.


These shots were taken maybe 3 pm'ish - sun sets early here in the eastern U.S. The colors were gorgeous!


As was the ice - intricately frozen on our rocky shore, yet crystal clear a little ways out.


Not thick yet, but the kids (under adult supervision) slid on the ice, just a little, right on the shore where the bottom of lake is maybe two inches below ice. Until a more responsible adult came along and said: no more. Killjoy.

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Family members tolerated my camera for about a couple of minutes, before they said they needed to move to stay warm. So I snapped a few shots of the beautiful ice.

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Tonight it is supposed to start snowing again, so the lake will look a lot different again, tomorrow. I am so glad we got to see the clear ice. It was alluringly beautiful. Still. Bring on the snow!!!



Joulupäivän yllätys herätessä ei ollut joulusukkien sisältö, vaan järven jäätyminen! Kirkas jää on henkeäsalpaavan kaunis. Tänä yönä alkaa satamaan lunta taas, meille on luvattu kunnon lumimyrsky, joten aamulla ikkunasta tulee näkymään aivan erilainen näköala taas. Nämä kuvat napsin joulupäivänä, iltapäivällä ennen auringonlaskua, eli ehkä klo 15 aikoihin.

Slow Cooker Rice Porridge


Finnish Christmas Rice Porridge
In a slow cooker
Our Mothership Adventures recipe
Serves 12

8 cups of milk
2 1/2 cups of Arborio Rice
1/2 cup coconut oil
1-2 tsp salt
1 peeled whole almond
Cinnamon and sugar mixed together (to taste)

Mix all ingredients except almond all together in the slow cooker. Cook on high for about 3 hours (depends on your slow cooker). You want the rice to be soft, and the milk absorbed into the rice, but not too dry. If your porridge is too dry, add some milk, mix it, and cook little longer. Before serving, mix the peeled almond in the porridge, trying to hide it. Traditionally finding the almond in your bowl would bring luck to the person getting it, and if you weren't married, it would bring marriage. If you'd like to, the person who finds the almond in their porridge could get a little present, or get our of dish duty:)
Serve with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve/Jouluaatto



What a wonderful name.
What a perfect Savior.
What a reason to celebrate!

She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21


We had a wonderful candlelight Christmas Eve service at our little country church, and the boys did a great job reading scripture passages and lighting the candles.

Our family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve with many Finnish traditions. A Christmas Eve morning sauna has always been an important part of our day, and sometimes we need to get more creative to find that tradition. This year, some of us had a Christmas Eve morning swim!

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We also decorated our Christmas tree, ate rice porridge with a hidden almond in the pot, had a wonderful Christmas feast with turkey and ham, all the fixings, and yummy pies and rum cake. After church we discovered presents under the tree, and spent the evening opening gifts.

What a special day, celebrating the greatest gift of all - our Savior Jesus Christ!


Meillä oli oikein tunnelmallinen jouluaatto täällä Mainessä. Aamu alkoi jäisellä aamu-uinnilla, ja jatkoimme päivää riisipuurolla, ja mahtavalla jouluaterialla. Illalla oli joulukirkko, jossa pojat lukivat joulukertomuksen, ja rukouksen, sekä sytyttivät adventin kynttilät. Kirkon aikana joulupukki oli käynyt meillä, joten iltaan mahtui vielä lahjojen avaamista. Aivan ihana päivä juhlien tärkeintä lahjaa - Pelastajaamme Jeesusta Kristusta.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas/Hyvää joulua!

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Merry Christmas to Everyone from Our Mothership Adventures!
Hyvää joulua Mothership-blogin väeltä!

“For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord! And this will be a sign for you : you will find a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven (a heavenly knighthood), praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest , and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased .” (Luke 2:11-14)

"Teille on tänä päivänä syntynyt Vapahtaja, joka on Kristus, Herra, Daavidin kaupungissa.
 Ja tämä on teille merkkinä: te löydätte lapsen kapaloituna ja seimessä makaamassa."
 Ja yhtäkkiä oli enkelin kanssa suuri joukko taivaallista sotaväkeä, ja he ylistivät Jumalaa ja sanoivat:
 "Kunnia Jumalalle korkeuksissa, ja maassa rauha ihmisten kesken, joita kohtaan hänellä on hyvä tahto!" (Luukas 2:11-14)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy FAMILY day//Hyvää PERHEpäivää!!!

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Today, fourteen years ago, our four babies were born in New Hampshire, and today, six years ago, we signed the adoption papers of Little Miss in Guangzhou, China. Today, we get to celebrate our family! We are so blessed.


Tänään, neljätoista vuotta sitten neljä vauvaamme syntyivät New Hampshiressä, ja tänään kuusi vuotta sitten allekirjoitimme Pikkuneidin adoptiopaperit Kiinassa. Tänään saamme juhlia perhettämme! Olemme siunatut.

Monday, December 17, 2012



Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


Prayer of Saint Francis
In memory of lives lost in Newtown, CT

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Traveling North/Matkaa pohjoiseen


I'd say the Captain is extremely lucky. And blessed. Why?

A) My sister and her family live in Virginia, and he knows how much I miss them. B) My sister had her fourth baby early November I couldn't wait to hold and love on. C) My mom had just flown to my sister's house, and I was looking forward to all the Finnish chocolate seeing my mom.

Because if it wasn't for our Virginia stop, I'm sure I'd still be in Florida, trying to talk our Maine family into joining us for a Florida campground Christmas. After all, last year was magical and amazing. Truly. And Florida was so warm. Next year??? Next door campsites, Grandpa?

Sadly we even had to cut our Fort Desoto stay a night short after having some motorhome repairs (even stayed in a hotel for a night), but after the Mothership was fixed, all our errands taken care of, we started driving north on November 30th. Stayed at a Walmart parking lot somewhere near Jacksonville, then drove the rest of the way to Virginia on Saturday.

We had a wonderful few days at my sister's house, and on Sunday we visited Busch Gardens Christmas Town. We went twice last year (read here), and really enjoyed our visit this year, too. Kids had fun on the rides, and we all enjoyed the beautiful Christmas lights, decorations, and the lovely Christmas music. Christmas Town is not afraid to celebrate our Savior's birth!

When it was time to leave Virginia, we took my mom with us, too! This part of the trip is already starting to be a little fuzzy to me, it was a pretty complicated stretch of traveling. We even started the morning out with a dead battery. Then had a business meeting near Philadelphia to work into our schedule. A full grey/black water tank to empty (emergency!!). Missy came down with a violent migraine during our drive. We were picking up some wood for our Maine house remodeling from Scranton. We finally pulled into our friends' driveway at midnight, and crashed.

The next day wasn't much better. We needed to get organized, packed and the Mothership cleaned up. We were leaving it behind to be stored for winter months. The Captain found some more wood for remodeling purposes, and filled our Suburban to the point of no family fitting in. Hmmmm...
It all worked out. On Saturday, December 8th, we left our friends' (thank you so much for your hospitality, M family!!) early in the morning. Picked up antifreeze on our way from Walmart, dropped off our Suburban at the RV storage place, drove to a service plaza to dump all liquids, picked up a rental minivan from the airport, got the Mothership ready for winter, and dropped it off at the storage facility, then drove off. The Captain driving our Suburban, filled with wood, me driving a snazzy nice minivan with the kids watching movies in the back seat, and my mom next to me keeping company.

Saturday night we made it to the Captain's parents' and sister's houses where we crashed for the night (thanks again!!!), and on Sunday we made it back to our Maine house.

Not a trip for the faint of heart.

And yes, I miss Florida.

And yes, the wood looks fantastic here!


Meillä oli ihan järkyttävän monimutkainen ja pitkä matka takaisin pohjoiseen Floridasta, mutta onneksi kohokohtana oli vierailu siskon luona Virginiassa. Jätimme asuntoauton Pennsylvaniaan talvikuukausiksi (nyyh), aiomme viettää nämä talvikuukaudet Mainen kodissamme. Kotimatkalla piti jopa vuokrata auto, kun Kapteeni toi antiikkipuuta remonttia varten niin ettei autoomme jäänyt tilaa:) Kollaaseissa kuvia matkalta, sekä yksi kollaasi Busch Gardens'in Joulukylästä, jonne menimme siskon perheen ja äidin kanssa.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sunset Walk/Auringonlaskukävely


Beautiful St. Pete on west coast of Florida.
Kaunis St. Pete Floridan länsirannikolla.


Campsite at Fort Desoto State Park.
Leiripaikka Fort Desoton puistossa.


Skyway Bridge.


A walk with my honey.
Kävely kullan kanssa.


At sunset.
Auringonlaskun aikaan.


Deserted beach.
Tyhjä ranta.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Operation Christmas Child

One of our yearly family traditions as long as I can remember has been to fill out shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child. Our kids have had so much fun picking toys, school supplies, hygiene items and candy, packing it all up in shoe boxes, adding a little letter with their picture and address, praying for the child who receives it somewhere on the other side of the world, and then sending it off.

What a blessing. For the receiver and for the giver.

The national collection week is in November every year, and with our travels, I meant for us to fill the boxes and drop them off wherever we were that week. We haven't missed a year, yet. But we just  haven't been able to get our act together and do it this year.

I meant to do it in Maine.
I meant to do it in Florida.
I meant to do it in Virginia (where we are right now).

I knew you can fill the box any time - it doesn't have to be in November, so today I went online to find out where I can drop off the boxes if we worked on filling them today. And found out we would need to send them to North Carolina, since we are not near a drop off location (check locations here). Which is great, but a bit too much right now, as we are still traveling.

However, there is another option for slackers like me us!

You can build your boxes online! Which we just did. For $30 a box, and that includes the $7 shipping charge you (and your child?) can choose and add toys and other items to your online shoe box, and Samaritan's Purse will fill an actual shoebox with your items, even your letter with your picture on it, and send it out. We filled five this morning.


You can fill yours by clicking here. Why wait? Do yours right away, and bless a child.


Suomessa näitä kenkälaatikoita voi lähettää Patmoksen kautta, myös virtuaalisesti. Klikkaa lisätietoja täältä.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Florida Keys - Bahia Honda State Park


One of our Florida Keys stops was Bahia Honda State Park. It is a wonderful park and campground, but hard to get reservations for overnight camping, so when we were able to get one night stay there, we took it. And wished we had been able to stay longer.


Bahia Honda Key is about 37 miles from Key West, so it isn't super convenient if you want to spend a few days at Key West itself. It takes about 45 minutes by car (or motorhome) to travel between the two spots. We decided though, this is where we would like to return to, when we come back to the Keys.


After staying the night at the campground - which was a nice wide spot, shaded by trees on both sides and the campground had clean bathrooms and showers - we spent a great hour exploring a little bit of the 500-acre park.

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The beach was brilliantly beautiful - and bare! No crowds of people, no noise, no sand fleas (like at Long Key where we also really enjoyed our stay, also!), just a naturally gorgeous place where you can see many varieties of birds, creatures and fish. We loved spotting the green iguanas! We hear snorkeling is excellent at Bahia Honda, but we didn't get to do it this time around.

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While in the Keys, we learned about Henry Flagler, who brought the Overseas Railroad to Key West in the early nineteen hundreds. You can see a part of the extension at Bahia Honda.


We loved our short visit to Bahia Honda State Park!

Next time we'll be more prepared, and will bring our scuba/snorkeling gear with us, too!


Bahia Honda on yksi Floridan osavaltion puistoista Florida Keys-saarilla. Me olimme siellä vain yhden yön, mutta ehdottomasti haluamme palata sinne! Upea iso puisto, puhdas, kiva leirintäalue, eikä edes ollut hurjan kallis. Tosin oli melkein tunnin ajomatkan päässä Key Westistä, mutta paikkana ihana, ja Key Westin leirintäalueet olivat törkeän kalliita, joten ensi kerralla aiomme viettää enemmän aikaa täällä Bahia Hondan rannoilla.