winter wheels

Shortly after arriving in Alaska, conversations about winter tires followed. All season tires work well here in spring, summer & fall. Winter tires are recommended, but not mandatory in the snowy season. These tires may be studded or non-studded.

“It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with studded tires on a paved highway or road from May 1st through September 15th, inclusive, north of 60 North Latitude and from April 15th through September 30th, inclusive, south of 60 North Latitude, except that at any latitude on a paved portion of the Sterling Highway a person may not operate a motor vehicle with studded tires from May 1st through September 15th, inclusive.”

The Department of Administration, Division of Motor Vehicles

The winter tire options include:

  • Studded Tires – Tires with metal studs embedded within the tread
  • Studless Tires (Blizzak) – Tires with soft rubber with a special tread pattern

I think snow chains are available, but some have told me they are for the big trucks and snowplows.

What is your tire preference for snow?

As two of the city’s major tire companies closed in the past year, there was a rush for winter tire installation during the first snowfall. This caused a delay for snow tire installations, offering 3-6 week wait, depending upon vendor. We ended up buying Blizzak tires on sale at Costco on October 30 including one cent per tire installation scheduled for November 24. There was a cancellation, so we rescheduled to have our Blizzak tires installed last night!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.


2 x 4’s

Yesterday, our lil’ Sweet Pea turned four!

She is a princess in every way, but also carries a few traits of tomboy with her avid love for adventure and discovery.  She recently pointed outside during the first (and only so far) fresh snowfall and told me, “There is my home, in the snow!”  On her special day, we met daddy for lunch to celebrate and ended the day with red velvet cupcakes and a few gifts.

Big, her full biological brother, is nine months older. Yes, we currently have TWO four year olds in our home. They act as twins in every way.  At their recent wellness check, only an inch and two pounds lies between them.

They both share a deep love for dinosaurs and the outdoors. Often, I’ll find them looking out the window for snowflakes or hoping for a moose to stroll by the apartment.

Even though they are similar in countless ways, their interests are often polar opposites. Big likes to read books, play with trucks, complete interaction activities and sing songs. Sweet Pea is a dancer, artist, gymnast and animal lover.

Feliz cumpleaños a nuestra princesa! ¡Te amamos!


After 13 days of quarantine, all the red spots from Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) disappeared! Many friends and family didn’t know what HFMD is or what to do.

This diagnosis was new to us as well. I spent hours searching websites, reading blogs and talking to other mommas.


The Centers of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) states: “Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus genus (group), which includes polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and other enteroviruses.” The virus can be in saliva, sputum, blister fluids or feces so it is easily contagious, especially the first seven days.

As each body reacts differently and there are different strains of the virus, I will share our experience to help others if possible.


  • DAY 1
    • Big (four-year-old son) started with 25 red dots around his mouth at bedtime. They appeared between supper and bedtime.
    • Sweet Pea (three-year-old daughter) had a sore throat.
  • DAY 2
    • Big had some spots on this hands.
    • Sweet Pea had a fever, congestion and a sore throat.
  • DAY 3
    • Big had about 10 spots on each foot and 154 on his hands.
    • Sweet Pea had a mild fever in the morning with 20 red spots popping up around her mouth at bedtime.
    • I (mama) had blisters on the roof of my mouth with red spots on the back of my neck (where the littles ones’ hands rest during hugs) and behind my knees.
  • DAY 4
    • Big had more red spots pop up on his hands, wrist, feet and ears.
    • Sweet Pea’s red spots continued to appear on her mouth and hands.
    • I had 20 new red spots on my hands.
  • DAY 5-7
    • Big’s red spots became brown in color, no fluid or blisters, just dots.
    • Sweet Pea got a few red spots on her feet.
    • My mouth blisters healed.
  • DAY 8-13
    • All our red spots slowly disappeared.


We used the following for the first ten days of HFMD to boost our immune systems, prevent inflammation & itching and offer pain relief:

*Optional 4 drops Young Living Frankincense Essential Oil (I didn’t use since the spots were around the mouth)

I did put gloves and socks on our little ones after applying salve to soak in skin & avoid getting bedding or toys greasy.

We didn’t experience any fatigue, loss of appetite, itchy rash or blisters. I think the above home remedies helped boost our immune systems and keep our skin soft and moist.

We thank God for our recovery and look forward to exploring this new land of ours.

If you or someone in your family had HFMD, please share your treatment. 🙂

If you are interested in Young Living Essential Oils, send me a private message. I can share how they have helped our family in many ways.



On our 12th day in Anchorage, Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) visited our family.

We were putting our little ones to bed and I found 25 red bumps around our son’s (aka “Big”) face. Our daughter Sweet Pea complained about having a sore “neck.” That was the beginning of a long night full of tears, lots of research and a late night run to the grocery store for health supplies.

The following day, we woke up to more red dots on Big’s hands and feet.  Sweet Pea had a fever, congestion and a sore throat. Day three brought us 154 red spots on our little Big and blisters in my mouth with red spots on the back of my neck and behind my knees. At bedtime, 20 red spots popped up around our little Sweet Pea’s mouth. For the next week, red spots continued to appear on our mouths and hands. Daddy managed to escape without any spots.

After nine days of isolation, our red spots are slowly disappearing.  As HFMD is extremely contagious, we will wait a couple more days before returning to church and community actitivies. We can’t wait to get out and explore this new frontier and see our new friends!

In case you are wondering like I was, what is HFMD? The simplist definition, “A children’s virus causing sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet.” I found a more descriptive definition on the CDC website.

home snow home

We completed our first week in Anchorage, Alaska while settling into our temporary home, a cozy 795 sq ft two-bedroom furnished condo. New streets, new grocery stores, new weather, new culture, new people, new languages and new friends filled our days of exploration. Warm welcomes from our new church family greeted us in various fellowship events.

Some new things we discovered (or heard about):

  • Block Heaters to Plug in Vehicle – Electric Heating Element to Heat Engine in Extreme Cold Weather
  • Studded or Blizzak Tires – Traction Devices for Vehicles (October 1 – April 15)
  • Ice Cleats or Grips – Traction Devices for Shoes
  • Happy Lamps – Light Therapy to Reduce Seasonal Affective Disorder during Winter
  • Espresso Shops – Mini Trailers Offering Drive-Thru Service
  • PFD – Permanent Fund Dividend
  • Flattop – 3,510 Ft Mountain
  • Sleeping Lady – Mount Susitna 4,396 Ft
  • Outside – Not in Alaska
  • Lower 48 – Continental United States
  • Alaska Native – Alaskan who is Athabascan or Tlingit Indian, Yup’ik or Inupiaq Eskimo or Aleut
  • Cheechako – Newcomer to Alaska
  • Sourdough – Longtimer to Alaska

The days are getting shorter as we enter the winter season. Today, the sun rose at 9:19 am and set at 6:05 pm. We lose about 5 1/2 minutes of sunlight each day this week. It is an adjustment.

High speed internet is expensive and often limited. It took a bit of research to figure out that GCI is the main provider, internet service is offered at different speeds and limited data packages (unlimited runs about $180 at the moment) and you need to purchase your own router if you want a wireless connection. We purchased the smallest & most economical package.

We just experienced our first snowfall in Anchorage for this winter. The temperatures fluctuated a bit above and below freezing bringing us a mixture of cold rain and snow which equals slick roads. Winter tires, either studded or blizzark, are a priority on our endless to-do list.

day 15: trek to ak

We started out dark & early with lots of snow. Out of our 15 travel days, this last day was the toughest. Our 326 mile drive from Tok, AK to Anchorage, AK took nine hours.

The snow was dry and thick. It was beautiful but difficult to drive through. The visibility was poor and fresh snow on the ground without a trail to follow.

After a couple hours, we thought we were done with it as we hit wet roads and sunny skies. That only lasted a short time until we reached a higher elevation and the snowy skies and ground returned. It cleared up a bit but returned for a second time in glacier country.

About 85 miles out of Anchorage, it cleared up. Cloudy skies and dry roads.

After we arrived at our temporary home, a member brought us a huge variety of food for tomorrow’s breakfast. Shortly afterwards, pastor and his family brought over dinner and pantry items from the congregation. Our toddlers had a wonderful time with them & cried when they left. What an amazing warm welcome!
We are thankful to the Lord for safe travels, a nice place to stay & wonderful new friends.

day 14: trek to ak

We woke up in the dark on our last day in Canada. We were surprised to find an espresso bar in the fuel station in Haines Junction and that the sun didn’t show up until nine in the morning. The sun continued to follow us throughout the day with a chilly 28-34 F degrees.

Our drive took us through the Beautiful Kuane Range and River. The road was in fair condition with some parts quite smooth while other sections were in need of repair. We passed many rivers, creeks, lakes, swamps, forests, hills and mountains. The kids sang along to songs of Raffi while looking for elk and caribou. No animal sightings today.

We stopped for a delicious home cooked meal at Betty’s Buckshot in Beaver Creek before we headed across the international border.

There is a neat photo opportunity right at the Canada/USA boundary line. We passed through customs easily and arrived safely in Alaska! We began to sing along with Christmas carols to celebrate!

The terrain was quite similar to the previous region in the Yukon Territory, Canada. We noticed the distance markers are now in miles, no longer kilometers and the lines painted on the road were a bit brighter in AK.

After 290.3 miles, we are in Tok, Alaska for the night.

We continue to ask the Lord for safe travels each day as we begin our drive and thank him for the bountiful blessings of each day in our evening devotions.

Limited internet, photos coming soon…


day 13: trek to ak

We left Watson Lake in the dark early this morning. As the sun came up, the rains began. The sky was full of clouds much of the day. The rare glimpses of scenery we saw were beautiful lakes, rivers and mountains. The distance markers in today’s stretch were marked 2 km apart, rather than 5 km apart as they were previously.

We stopped in Whitehorse for fuel and lunch. We met families from Calgary and Quebec and enjoyed sharing travel stories.

We looked for caribou, elk and bison throughout our 305 mile drive to Haines Junction, but came up empty handed.  

We are staying at a Bed & Breakfast which includes free Internet, but a limited amount as it is via satellite.  Photos coming soon.


day 12: trek to ak

A gorgeous sunrise met the chilly temperatures this morning. We began today’s journey from Toad’s River Lodge, British Columbia to Watson Lake, Yukon Territory (201.6 mi / 324.5 km). The route offered spectacular scenes from all angles and different views around each corner of the winding mountainous path.

We climbed and descended throughout the day, changing the landscape from trees, rocks, cliffs, rivers and lakes. Much of the drive followed a whimsical fog or cloud which was a neat feature to the region. While climbing one of the inclines, we spotted a mother stone sheep (ewe) and her lamb.

We passed Muncho Lake which was breaktaking. We drove over the last remaining suspension bridge of the Alaska Highway to find four bison on the side of the road. A few clicks down the road, we encounter a calm herd of 40 bison, including some babies. We came across another group of 25 alongside the road shortly after. We read that bison like the side of the highway as it offers tall grass to feed on, a great place to spot predators and an easy way to to travel in comparison to the wooded areas. We spotted five male bison, each traveling on his own.

We continued to our next destination, Watson Lake, following the Liard River. The highway crossed province lines of British Columbia and Yukon Territory six times. After some amazing lookout spots, we found a red fox running joyfully alongside our van.

We are thankful to the Lord for another safe day of travel and the opportunity to see amazing creatures of his creation.


day 11: trek to ak

Our family of four headed back into the Canadian Rocky Mountains today from Fort St. John. The first couple hours of our drive were long with fluctuating speed limits and large logging trucks. The sky was cloudy with scattered rain showers.

  • Note from our guide MILEPOST: The mile markers were removed and replaced with kilometer markers in 1975 when Canada switched over to the metric system.  There was also a discrepancy of where the markers began counting. We soon realized that not every kilometer is actually marked, but every five.

After Fort Nelson, the landscapes and altitude changed. We saw a herd of deer as we headed into mountainous terrain.  We looked but didn’t see any stone sheep, bison or bear. Our search did find one caribou tucked in the brush.

The view of Summit Lake with its highest peak at 4,250 ft. and McDonald River were breathtaking.  The winding turns, stone cliffs, trickling creeks and distant snow capped peaks were an amazing sight to see.

At this time of the year, accomodation is limited as many places are closed for the season. After 353.7 miles / 569.2 km, we arrived at Toad River Lodge at Historic Mile Marker 422 or 647.4 km marker.