Our Arizona Adventures

I am finally feeling myself again after our crazy Arizona adventure and ready to share all the fun things we did around Phoenix. We had initially planned our trip for 10 days and then it got extended to 17 days thanks to Omnicron and the storms in the Pacific Northwest. For those first 10 days I jam packed our days with adventures in the morning and relaxing by the pool in the afternoons. If you have teens or little ones renting a house with a pool is a must.

Our first Airbnb in Glendale

In our 10 days we visited the Desert Botanical Gardens accompanied with a photo shoot, the Phoenix Zoo, The Hole in the Rock, Butterfly Garden, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, Odysea Aquarium, Glendale Glitters, Piestewa Peak Hike, and Tom’s Thumb Hike. And I cannot forget to share the most amazing tacos from Cocina Madrigal.

If you have little ones and they enjoy the zoo and animals I recommend checking out the Phoenix Zoo. With our huge family I found tickets on Groupon for cheaper than the admissions price. We found ours on Groupon for $23 a piece and if you purchase them at the zoo they are $29.95 for adults or $19.95 for children. They also have these sweet little animal rides called Rydables and you can rent them by the minute.

Sydney & I at the Phoenix Zoo

Right next to the zoo is Papago Park where there are some great hiking trails, or you can go check out The Hole in the Rock. The Hole in the Rock is a super duper short hike and Sydney enjoyed the views. We didn’t explore the trails around Papago Park but if we visit Phoenix again we will definitely check them out.

Sydney & I enjoying the views from The Hole in the Rock

Prior to our visit to Arizona I booked a photo shoot with the talented Morgan of Prickly Pear Photography LLC. Morgan suggested we take our photos at the Desert Botanical Gardens and she picked a beautiful location. Sydney and my mother in law led the way through the Gardens. The boys were not as impressed as the ladies were but we enjoyed our time exploring the Gardens. Tickets were a little on the spendy side but they were worth it. Make sure you plan enough time to walk through it all, there is a lot to see.

And if you are ever in the Phoenix area and are needing an amazing photographer check out Morgan she was wonderful to work with!

Orson not impressed with the Desert Botanical Garden

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park was a fun little park to explore with Sydney and Orson. The railroad ride and carousel ride were inexpensive and the kids enjoyed the rides. Sydney also had a blast playing at the park. This was a great little park to explore.

Sydney at the McCormick Stillman Railroad Park

The Butterfly Garden was a neat place to explore, it was a little spendy but Sydney loved walking around with the butterflies. I don’t know if it was worth the amount we spent there are no children rates, or Groupon options. If we were to go back to Phoenix I don’t think we would check it out again.

Sydney at the Butterfly Garden

Next to the Butterfly Garden is Odysea the Aquarium. Be sure to check out the bathroom before going upstairs, it is definitely one of the coolest bathrooms we have been in. Again the tickets to the aquarium were expensive and if we were to go back I don’t think we would visit here again. There was no Groupon option or children ticket options. Sydney had a blast exploring the Aquarium and she loved the Tide Touch Pool.

Sydney at Odysea

Goldfield Ghost Town in Apache Junction is a fun place to explore. If we didn’t have the little ones we might have went on one of the tours. But walking around and seeing one of the shows was interesting and loud. A little piece of advice do not stand too close when they start the show if you have sensitive ears like me.

Exploring Goldfield Ghost Town

Two hikes that we were able to explore were Piestewa Peak and Tom’s Thumb. Both hikes were pretty intense with two little ones. We made it about halfway up for both which is pretty impressive for Sydney considering these were her first two hikes. And Orson just added an additional 20 lbs to my hikes but they were both beautiful. The next time we make a visit hopefully we can make it to the top with both kiddos.

Stan-O enjoying Tom’s Thumb
Sydney summiting Piestewa Peak

And if for whatever reason you find yourself celebrating Christmas near Glendale check out Glendale Glitters. Or any light shows for that matter. Sydney and I had blast wandering around checking out all the Christmas lights set up in downtown Glendale.

Syd and I exploring Glendale Glitters

As far as places to stay we loved staying in Scottsdale. And if you ever need a beautiful place to Airbnb please check out Mindy’s place in Scottsdale. Our place in Scottsdale was close to great hikes, restaurants, and shopping. If we find ourself in Arizona again we will definitely be saying in this area again.

Our Airbnb in Scottsdale

Last but not least if you are wanting to eat the best tacos in the world you NEED to go check out Cocina Madrigal. They have thee most amazing tacos I have ever eaten in my entire life. The beef tenderloin steak is marinated in the most delicious pomegranate marinade and cooked to perfection. The tacos were so good we had to eat them twice and I am drooling just thinking about them. You will not be disappointed. Do yourself a favor and if you ever find yourself in the Phoenix area you will go grab yourself some tacos, maybe an elote and some delicious chips and salsa!

The best steak tacos I have ever eaten

And that’s it for all my recommendations for if or when you find yourself in the Phoenix area. I will post another blog on what you should and shouldn’t when it comes to traveling with kids. Our 10 day trip turned into an extended 17 day nightmare and there were plenty of things I wish I had purchased and looked into before we went on our family vacation. Overall we had a blast and made the best of it!

Zoom Qaspeq Classes

I plan on hosting three qaspeq zoom classes.

The zoom classes will be over three different weekends. The three weekends are:

November 27-28

December 4-5

December 11-12

The first two zoom classes will be traditional qaspeq classes. And the third class will be a modern qaspeq class. There will be three sessions over the weekend. There will be two (2) hour sessions on Saturday, and one (2) hour session on Sunday.

Students will need to provide their own material, and sewing machine.

The fee to participate in the class with $75 per person. And there will be at 15 person maximum capacity.

I will create three different events on Facebook for these events. If you do not have Facebook you can send me a message to sewyupik@gmail.com if you are interested in participating.

I wanted to create this post to prepare those of you who are interested in attending. Please do not ask me to remind you, or to message you when I post the events. I work full time, work part time, have two little ones at home, and my mom brain is in full force. I forget when I showered last so I am not a good person to ask to remind anyone. Sorry for the TMI but I want to be honest.

Materials needed for a traditional qaspeq:

3 yards for sizes XXS-XL with no skirt

3 1/2 yards for sizes XL and up with no skirt

Add 1/2 yard if you would like a skirt

2-3 packages of bias tape, trimming of your choice

I personally like using the extra wide double fold bias tape, and piping

Materials needed for a modern qaspeq:

2 yards for sizes XXS-XL

2 1/2 yards for sizes XL and up

1 yard of rayon knit spandex

Here is what I like using from Joanns Rayon Knit Spandex

Please let me know if you have any questions. Please keep an eye out for those events created on Facebook and it will have all the information on how to register for the classes.

Quyana Chuck Norris!

Its been hard

Being a school nurse during this difficult time has been unbearable at times to the point that I am breaking into a million pieces.

I cherish my times with the students and generally love every aspect of being a school nurse. But now it has been so hard that I get physically sick to my stomach every morning when I drive to the school. Being yelled at daily is normal. Most times its more than once.

It is all out of my control.

I don’t have control over the school policies. I am not making up any nilly willy rules just because it’s fun and I feel like it. I want students in school just as much as the parents. We all saw how last year students suffered mentally and emotionally because they were not socializing. It was tough. For every single one of us and some more than others who have lost a family member, friend, coworker. I get it. I too have lost family members to COVID related illnesses and it sucks.

It is not hard to be kind. It is not hard to be empathic or sympathetic. We are all doing our best. Most days I am prepared to be yelled at and that is the shittiest feeling in the world. But today is not one of those days.

So please be kind. It’s not hard. And I hope that you can find joy. Life is too short to be angry.

My beautiful babies

My Financial Independence Journey

Waqaa & Hello!

I am going to highlight each of these slides and how I began my financial journey. First and foremost I am not a financial advisor, this is not financial advice. I am merely sharing what I have learned on my journey since getting my finances in order. In the early 2010’s I opened a Roth IRA with Vanguard. I set up automatic monthly investment to my Roth IRA for a few years. And then life got in the way and I was not able to contribute and stopped. This January 2021 I got serious about my finances and investments and went down the rabbit hole of investing, cryptocurrencies, various side hustles, and learning everything anything money.

In January I opened up my Vanguard account and familiarized myself with my Roth IRA again. My funds had been allocated in mutual funds that had HIGH expense ratios. I moved my funds to ETF’s (exchange traded funds) and mutual funds with low expense ratios such as the S&P 500, Total Stock Market Index, and Total Stock Market International. The specific funds that I invest in are VOO, VTI, VFIAX, VTIAX, and VTSAX. Again these are my personal investments and this is not financial advice. The maximum amount that you can contribute to a Roth IRA is $6,000 per year. The deadline to contribute is when taxes are due which is typically April 15th. Make sure when you contribute to your Roth IRA, brokerage account or rollover IRA that you move the funds from the Federal Money Market and invest it in a specific ETF (exchange traded funds), mutual fund, or individual stock. Do not forget to do this step otherwise your money will not work for you.

Along with ETF’s and mutual funds I also invest in individual stocks. The stocks that I invest in are things that I use everyday such as my Apple, Disney, Etsy, and other things that I use on the daily. I also have researched and invested in other various stocks that could potentially become beneficial down the road. Those specific stocks are in the renewable energy sector and other areas. I spend at least 30 minutes everyday and try and learn about something new with regards to investing, the stock market, cryptocurrencies, and anything and everything related to investing!

With my Employer Retirement Account when I initially opened it I apparently opted to have a financial company allocate my funds. I was scared for the longest time to move it around because I wasn’t sure what to do or what funds to pick out. And honestly I thought it would be complicated to do. I finally found the courage and time and opted out of that service and allocated a majority of it into an S&P 500. The other smaller portion I invested into an International Equity and World Equity fund. I also contribute the maximum amount that my employer will match.

After maxing out my Roth IRA for 2020 and 2021 I opened up a brokerage account. I will not do justice by trying to describe a brokerage so I am sharing a link to Personal Finance Club’s blogpost created by Jeremy. Click HERE to get to the post regarding what a brokerage account is. In my brokerage account I invest in VOO, VTI, VFIAX. I also invest in other individual stocks and ETF’s.

I also rolled over two of my old employer retirement accounts from when I worked at the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation. I had around $100K that I rolled into a Vanguard Rollover IRA. Back story I worked at YKHC for over 10 years and I don’t remember when I started my retirement account with them but I am thankful that I did. I just recently rolled over the $100K to my Vanguard and just finished allocating it today. I had a little more fun with a small portion of it and invested it in some risky stocks. I also have one more old employer retirement account that I need to rollover. Once I roll it over to my rollover IRA I will look into a Backdoor Roth IRA and see if I can do that. Again I will not try and explain what a Backdoor Roth IRA but click HERE. Jeremy from Personal Finance Club does an excellent job explaining what it is.

I work full-time as a School Nurse. I had two part time jobs at one point as a Contact Tracer. I have my small business Sew Yup’ik. I teach classes via Zoom and in-person. And I try to find any and every single side hustle there is out there. I am currently in the process of going down the rabbit hole and researching Turo a car sharing company. I am also looking into ways that I can monetize my Sew Yup’ik Youtube channel, and my Sew Yup’ik Instagram page. Like I said I love to learn anything and everything if it helps me to become financially independent.

I would not have gotten serious about my finances, budgeting and daily tracking if it was not for stumbling across The Budget Mom’s Instagram page. I started following The Budget Mom in 2019 and got serious about daily tracking my finances and budgeting. When I started following her I had $81K in debt with my student loans and car loan. I started tracking my daily finances. I created monthly budgets. Challenged myself to no spend days. And threw whatever I could to my student loans, and car loan. I was able to pay $71K of my loans and still have $10K left of student loans. I could be paying it off but instead I am choosing to invest that. I am also secretly hoping President Biden will cancel some student debt haha but I won’t hold my breath. My goal is to reach Coast FI meaning that I want to invest enough money so that it can work for me and I will not have to invest another penny down the road. Again I wont explain it but check out this blogpost from Personal Finance Club on what Coast FI means.

All of this information is what I have done for my financial journey. I will continue to educate myself and keep going. My ultimate goal is to work when I feel like it and set my own schedule. I hope that this information is helpful. If you have any questions comment below. If you are not following me on IG or FB head over to my Sew Yup’ik pages I share a lot of my information on those platforms. And again my motto as always is don’t buy dumb sh**.

Please let me know if you would be interested in a post regarding my children’s accounts.

Quyana Cakneq!

Sew Yup’ik YouTube Channel

Waqaa!

I have created a Sew Yup’ik YouTube Channel and I would love for you to head over and tell me what you think.

What types of tutorials would you like to see?

Would you be interested in a live class with me for a donation?

I am open to any and every suggestion! I love to share and teach and I am hoping to create more tutorials around salve making with traditional plants, making moose jerky, salmon processing, akutaq making and sew much more!

Quyana Chuck Norris!

Here is my youtube link to my channel!

Sew Yup’ik YouTube Channel

Ways to support a small business

There are many ways you can support a small business without actually buying anything. Here are some of the ways you can support a small business that are free.

Share a Post

Like a Post

Repost

Comment

Tag a friend

Give a shout out

Encourage them

Leave a review

Engage with their posts

As a small business owner I do not have any employees but myself. Sometimes my almost 4 year old daughter Syd loves to help me, and my 3 month old often sleeps on the job. So any like, share, post or anything helps me and it is much appreciated.

Quyana cakneq!

Mama’s Positive Affirmations

Mama’s Positive Affirmations

You are a good mom. I am a good mom.

You are not a bad mom. I am not a bad mom.

You are not your thoughts. I am not my thoughts.

You are safe. I am safe.

You are not alone. I am not alone.

Tomorrow is a new day.

You are not in charge of anyone’s happiness but your own.

You don’t owe anyone anything that includes space.

You are amazing. I am amazing.

You are okay. I am okay.

You are exactly where you need to be at this very moment.

You do not have to enjoy every moment. It’s okay to not like this moment.

You can do this. I can do this.

You are strong. I am strong.

You are loved. I am loved.

Step outside and take three deep breaths. Breathe in love. Breathe out the anger.

I am grateful for my health.

You are a survivor. You are giving your children the best possible life.

You are alive. I am alive.

I am here. I am ready. I am prepared to ride out this wild storm. I am strong. I can do this.

Here are my positive affirmations to help me in my postpartum depression bouts. When I am suffering I will turn to these to help me through those deep, dark moments. The one that I will repeat to myself over and over again is:

You are not your thoughts.

I am not my thoughts.

My thoughts can be so scary at times but I know that those moments will pass. I know that there are times when I am overly exhausted and I need to remind myself that I am okay. My goal is to post my affirmations on post its around my house. I will repeat them every morning when I wake. I am a good mom. I am safe. I am not alone.

Postpartum depression and postpartum rage can be so scary. I know that I am not the only suffering and I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone. Navigating through those emotions can be so difficult when I am trying to heal my childhood trauma wounds. Becoming a parent opens up wounds that I must have hid deep, deep down in my heart. But I am trying every day and that is the important part. I am doing the work. I am showing up and learning. It’s hard. And somedays are harder than others and I avoid going down that road because its hurts my core. I know that I have to go down to that dead end so that I can heal and move forward.

My self-healing journey has been a long, long road but I am so thankful where I am today. And I am excited where I am going to be 1, 5, 10 years down the road. I deserve to be healthy. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to enjoy my life to the fullest. My children deserve a happy, healthy mama. My husband deserves a healthy wife and partner but mostly friend.

Find your people. Find what works for you. Keep going. Don’t ever give up. Know that you are not alone. Reach out to me if you have no one and I can be your person. Motherhood is hard. Self-healing from childhood trauma is hard. And navigating those headwaters can be scary but know that you are not alone.

You are not alone.

You are safe.

You are loved.

You will be okay.

Fireweed Tuesdays

a

I finally got enough energy to finish two qaspeqs last night! Whew. I think I finally recovered from my whirlwind of a weekend.

Weekend consisting of fishing and berry picking, and berry picking.

And then this afternoon on my quick lunch break I was able to pick a bucket full of fireweed. I am hoping to make fireweed jalapeno jelly, fireweed raspberry and another variation of fireweed jelly before Saturday.

My next few weeks are going to be insane! I head to Kotzebue July 23-31 to visit with family and be a camp counselor at Camp Sisualik! Which I am so excited about!

Then I get home for a day and then head back the next day to Nome for 4 days to teach a qaspeq class at the Rural Providers conference.

And then I am home for about 10 days and then off to Bethel for a week!

Whew! I will be excited once all my travels are done. And I can finally relax and continue working thru my orders.

Life is wonderful! Especially when you fill with smiles, positivity and laughter!

Wednesdays Rock!

Wednesdays Rock! when they are filled with fish head soup, fish egg spread, akutaq, pike and seal oil, finishing a qaspeq, and finishing a beautiful wall hanging that I inherited from my mama bear Jeanne.

The fish egg spread was ahhhhhmazing! And now its all gone! In my tummy and I shared with my coworkers and friends! I cant wait to make more.

I was able to finish this lovely qaspeq for one of my first friends in kindergarten. I loved how bright and fun it is!

You cant have fish head soup without the akutaq so I had to make a fresh batch. Akutaq is eskimo ice cream made with Crisco, sugar, milk, and berries. This time I used my fresh blueberries and salmon berries and it tasted scrumdiddlyumptious! Don’t knock it till you try it 🙂

And my mama bear Jeanne gave me this beautiful wall hanging that she was going to toss aside but I gladly snatched it up! The only thing I had to do was add the binding. I love how beautiful and simplistic it is. This is her view from looking out her store in Cooper Landing.

I am hitting the road and heading to Milky Chance this evening in Anchorage. I hope to goodness the roads are not jam packed and I can make it in time to see the show!

Happy Thursday! Seize the day!

022