Let’s just make this clear; science is cooler in Alaska. Our vast environment and geographic layout combined with amazing animals and even more amazing people make for a melting pot of the most exciting kind for youth lucky enough to grow up here. But for all its beauty and variety, some kids still struggle with the interrelationship between science and people, especially those who learning styles differ from traditional classroom settings.
Enter Campbell Creek Science Center and 4-H, whose unique partnership has created budding scientists among the often moody “tweenager” set, those kids in the 9-14 age range. Funded by a grant from the Friends of Campbell Creek Science Center(, “Science Saturdays” are an opportunity for kids and the adults in their lives to delve into almost three hours of intense science from a truly “down and dirty” perspective at the Center, located off Elmore Road in southeast Anchorage.
One Saturday a month from December 2011 through June 2012, tweens and adults work together to tackle complicated but cool science concepts, among them stream ecology, salmon, insects, avalanche behavior, GPS, and weather. Indoor and outdoor time focuses not only on the actual science facts, but the ideas behind them and why Alaskan kids need to know such information. Drawing, role-playing, snowshoeing, music, and team-building skills are all a part of each Science Saturday program, facilitated in tandem by Campbell Creek Science Center staff and Marianne Kerr of the Cooperative Extension Service, the parent organization of 4-H. Kerr and the staff are are masters of both kid-management and science, challenging and questioning and encouraging participants every step of the way.
Learning about different types of snow shelters makes for pretty interesting winter fun at Science Saturdays, held at Campbell Creek Science Center in Anchorage.
A fantastic option for scout troops, youth groups, and packs of tween friends and parents, Science Saturdays are a chance for positive peer interaction in a supportive setting, with a little learning thrown in for good measure. Campbell Creek’s vast network of trails are perfect for snowshoeing or skiing, too, and often class members will head out for a little wintertime exploration, too, sipping hot chocolate and eating cookies upon their return. It’s just about perfect.
The first class is scheduled for Saturday, December 4 from 1-3:30 p.m. Titled “Wilderness Rescue,” this first program of the year will provide kids and grownups with skills vital to outdoor recreation in Alaska. Treating and identifying cold-weather injuries, prevention strategies, and outdoor practice will be a part of the afternoon. Each Science Saturday class costs $5 per child, with parents attending free of charge. There is also a one-time 4-H fee of $6, unless participants are members of a participating Girl Scout troop.
It’s easy to love science in Alaska. Sometimes kids just need a little push from the adults in their world.
For additional information regarding 2011-2012 Science Saturday programs, contact Marianne Kerr at mlkerr - at - alaska.edu.
I ENJOY READING for its ability to transport me somewhere else. Like many parents I find the opportunities to pick up a book of my choosing few at best. Most of my reading moments are seeing what a curious monkey is doing (again), what Dora is taking a picture of, or what human activities Richard Scarry is illustrating via the animal world.
A work trip or late sleepless nights seem to be some of the few opportunities I get to read for me and I consider it a luxury. For this reason I have surprised myself by recently picking up some non-fiction books that deal with fatherhood. But, unfortunately I feel like these choices may have not made the most out of this luxury time.
As someone who enjoys humor more than most I have found it an essential asset to getting through many of the challenges of fatherhood. The fathers who penned these books must have felt the same way because many (if not all) of the stories they offer are predictably funny. There is the story about changing a diaper somewhere uncomfortable to the distaste of onlookers. The realization in a late moment in the day that Dad discovers that he has been sporting some spit-up milk on the shoulder of his dress shirt. Not being prepared for the second urination while changing the diaper from the first. Oh, and the father carrying a diaper bag and pushing a stroller while his buddies pass-by with catcalls! Ha ha! I get it. These moments are funny and sometimes it helps take the stressfulness out of parenthood to sit-back and laugh at the absurdity.
Then my laughs subside and I get frustrated with the make up of most of the “Daddy” books. They are not real. Where is the Dad who is trying to keep friendships alive with friends who consider other people's children baggage? Where is the Dad who works at home and spends copious amounts of time with his children because he is an established writer?
Where is the dad who is working hard at his career but is rarely recognized with appreciation by his family and friends? Where is the Dad who gets the sideways glances from the moms at the playground or playgroup because he is the only Dad present?
Humor is an escape and I am glad that there are authors that present the obvious that doesn't always enter a father’s head in the moment but I am tired of the predictability! Why is humor the constant default setting for us Dads?
Portraying the humorous is ignoring the realities of this role of father. It is messy, loud, disorganized, taxing, sleepless, disorienting, demanding, endless, and sometimes it just sucks! Fatherhood is challenging and continuous work and that is what makes it worth so much more than laughs!
I now find myself attempting to escape from this unrealistic escape of Dad books after all I am busy creating my own father story.
Forehead pressed against the cold window, I waited impatiently for the plane to descend through thick clouds. My breath held and released only when Turnagain Arm welcomed me “home” with a ripple of its silky waters.
The jagged gray mountain peaks that I loved were already coated with termination dust, hinting at my favorite time of the year. As the wheels touched ground, I sighed, the kind you release when you’re coming home after a long business trip, even though I was now a visitor with only ten days to teach a class for 49 Writers, wrap up loose ends with various jobs, and put our house in Eagle River on the market.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, home is “a refuge, a sanctuary a place or region to which one naturally belongs or where one feels at ease; a place where something flourishes.”
A few moments with my feet on Alaskan soil and I felt as if I was wrapped in the softest robe, sipping a cup of tea. Physically, I am extremely comfortable. My metabolism is such that in places like D.C., even in an air-conditioned environment, Thomas catches me climbing into refrigerators or freezers. Cold temperatures calm me down so that I am more willing to let things be. Emotionally, I flourish in nature. A placid body of water, so still that it reflects the drifting clouds in the sky, inspires poetry, while manicured lawns, office buildings, and traffic jams put me on edge. Shrink-wrapped in pantyhose, high heels, and a tight suit, I’m not only uncomfortable but I feel judged.
Escaping the rat race of job titles, houses, and cars, is one of the main reasons why my friends swear they will never leave Alaska. Here, we can smoke salmon in our pajamas on our front lawn. Or wear Bogs and Carhartts to work. Or crash into a friend’s truck and simply be forgiven with the words, “Don’t worry about it. I’ve done worse things to this piece of shit.” For many of us, it’s hard to find another place in the world that makes you feel so much at ease.
For all of these reasons, Alaska will always be my “home,” which is why it was difficult for me to accept that eventually I would have to write a “last post” for KTD.
The Oxford English Dictionary also defines “home” as “the family or social unit occupying a house.” No matter how much I might savor a long soak in a hot tub beneath skies lit by the Northern Lights and a full moon, my mind lingered in Vienna, Virginia, worrying about whether Thomas remembered to brush the kids’ teeth or whether anyone made him breakfast.
My phone conversations with my family went like this:
“Hi, it’s Kyra Oh. Mommee, I didn’t miss the bus today. Mommee, I love you. I miss you. When you come home, I have a surprise for you,” Kyra speaks so fast that I can’t get a word in. “Come home soon, okay? Here, Ethan talk to Mommee.”
“Wait!” I say, but now I can hear my son walking around with Thomas’ iPhone. “Mommee? Mommee? Mommee?” his voice reminds me of the pitiful cry of a hungry baby bird waiting for his mom to feed him.
“Ethan? I love you!” I say, but my iPhone goes silent. The connection is still running.
“Hello? Ethan? Thomas? I think Ethan hit the mute button.” I pace back and forth in frustration.
Finally, a child’s voice comes through, “Are you in Alaska?” Now, I understand why my relatives can never tell the difference between Kyra and Ethan on the phone. Their voices are virtually indistinguishable, but as the mother, shouldn’t I be able to tell?
So I try to be quiet and just listen. Once the words “I’m mad” and “Spiderman” and “Batman” surface, I sigh with relief. It’s Ethan.
Finally, I decipher a full sentence. “Mommee, why are you not home?” Ethan demands. Then the connection drops, probably because he hit the “end” button.
The longer I stayed in Alaska, my refuge and sanctuary, without my family, the more I felt uneasy. Soon, I heard myself saying that I couldn’t wait to go “home.” I scrolled through photos of my kids on my iPhone and counted down the hours to lying in bed with a kid tucked under each arm and a book propped on my belly.
When I did reunite with my family in the D.C. area, I filled their tummies with smoked salmon and blueberry jam made by my Alaskan friends. The kids insisted that I read Kiska and Kobuk every night as they snuggled with their Kiska and Kobuk huskies. At the center of our dining table, I filled a vase with dry reed grass I picked from a hike on Glen Alps, where I dozed to their gentle rustle in the wind.
I have a feeling that part of me will always be curled up like my son in front of Alaska’s door, waiting patient and loyal, cheeks squished, butt propped high and proud.
Continue to follow Leslie's family's adventures in Virginia by visiting LeslieHsuOh.com.
This installment of Patrick on the Edge was featured on the air this week as part of the Gifted & Talented Education Show.
I AM A NERD. And I am proud of it. That's the trend that’s emerging in Alaskan High Schools today.
Nerds are no longer those quiet, insecure kids with thick glasses and backpacks bursting with books. Nowadays, nerds are more than someone to steal lunch money or homework from. They participate in sports, student government, and go to school dances. Yes, this means that the modern nerd actually has a social life (gasp)! It's not like the nerds are revered as gods, and most people probably won't go as far as to call them "cool", but among nerds, most are happy and confident with their choice of staying in and writing college essays as opposed to doing whatever it is that the "cool" kids are doing right now.
I think this real-life Revenge of the Nerds started for me in Elementary School. I remember my 5th grade teacher telling the class to "be nice to nerds, because one day they'll be your boss." I laughed at the time, and told myself that I could have the best of both worlds- I could make fun of nerds now, and be their boss later (I hadn't yet realized my own nerd pedigree, but I had been told I was smart, so I believed it). But that line always subconsciously stuck with me, and I am prepared to apply it if I'm ever made fun of- I'll just retort with the fact that okay, I'm a nerd. At least I won't be flipping burgers at age 30, like some people.
With more and more people going to college, an emphasis is placed on the intellectually gifted since day one. Countless kids I know were in IGNITE (An elementary school program for gifted students that encourages them to think critically and outside the box). But curiously, some kids I know, and consider to be very smart, were never in programs like IGNITE. They weren't picked, so they worked even harder than most of the "gifted" kids. It's a testament to the statement that intelligence is nothing without work ethic.
This trend continues as the budding nerds get older. In 6th grade, Goldenview Middle School offers a zero-hour (before school) pre-algebra class to gifted students, putting them 2 years ahead of the "normal" 6th grader. In high school, all students with a 3.5 GPA or higher are recognized at an assembly, and last year at Service High School there were over 300 students who achieved that GPA.
While our numbers continue to grow, nerds aren't really the new epitome of cool. There probably won't be movies made glorifying the life of a nerd, just more making fun of them (because that's funnier). But you can bet that the movie director, executive producer and sound master who make that movie are all nerds in their own right. They might not shout it from the rooftops, but they know they wouldn't be where they are today if it wasn't for their brains.
WHO DOESN'T LOVE PIZZA? Here is a recipe for homemade crust. Once you have your crust, all you have to do is gather toppings and, voilà, everyone gets his favorite pizza - no squabbling about someone's pepperoni crossing over the middle or how the mushroom flavor is polluting the whole pie. This is a great meal that the whole family can help to make (and clean up!), and leftover slices are great in lunch bags the next day. This recipe makes about four 12-14" pizza crusts. You can divide the dough into smaller portions or easily cut the recipe in half if you need less. Individual crusts can be made the day before and then stored after they have cooled - great for pizza parties with lots of friends the next day!
2 envelopes quick rising yeast (or about 4 tsp)
2 c warm water
4 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt
7-8 c flour + a little extra for rolling out the crusts
(If you need gluten-free, I prefer the Gluten Free Pantry French Bread/Pizza Dough mix to the others I have tried. Just follow the package directions.)
Preheat the oven to 425F
In a mixing bowl, pour the warm water (pleasantly warm to your fingers but not hot) and add the yeast. Stir gently to get the yeast into the water and allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast has woken up. Add the olive oil and salt and stir. Begin adding the flour about 1/2 cup at a time mixing thoroughly with each addition. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, I highly recommend using it. By the 6th or 7th cup of flour, the dough gets quite tough to mix, and if you are doing it by hand, you will get a good upper body workout or you could recruit some mixing help from the pizza eaters in your house. When you have added enough flour, the dough will not be very sticky to the touch and it will gather in a big clump on the the spoon or dough hook.
Extract your mixing implement, then cover the bowl loosely with a clean towel and put it in a warm place (not hot) and let the dough rise for about an hour. When it has risen - at least doubling if not tripling in size - punch it down and separate it into 4 equally-sized balls. Cover a clean surface with a thin layer of flour and place one of the balls on it.
Press the ball into a disc and sprinkle it with more flour. You may need to add more sprinkles of flour as you go. Using a rolling pin, roll it out to about 12-14" in diameter, and carefully picking it up by draping it over the rolling pin, place it onto a pizza or other flat baking pan. Dock it (poke some holes in it with a knife point or fork tines) and put it into the hot oven to pre-bake for about 10 minutes or until it is just beginning to get a bit golden. Once it has come out and cooled for a couple of minutes, spread the sauce, sprinkle the toppings and put it back into the oven until the cheese is melty and delicious (about 5-10 min).
The time in the oven for the whole pizza may not be enough time to cook meats or other items, so make sure those kinds of items are pre-cooked. Allow the pizza to cool for a few minutes and then enjoy!
We beat the drum of the great outdoors constantly here at KTDontheGO. An hour a day, every day, for the children in the KTD family of listeners. “Get outside, kiddos, and don’t let us catch you sneaking in for the latest episode of 'Phineas and Ferb,' either.” Studies show better attention spans, fewer sleep issues, and more good old-fashioned opportunities for free play when kids play outside on a regular basis.
Kids, yes, but what about we grownups? Could the outdoors possibly hold the same sort of benefit after a few hours or even a few days spent in fresh air, sunshine or snow, cradled in the arms of Mother Nature? Lower blood pressure, higher endorphins, happy faces at home, and the absence of a caffeine-generated sense of energy? I can report my own personal high-five from an adult life spent working through my biggest parenting problems, issues, and triumphs in one place: the out-of-doors.
It’s hard being a mom or dad. We create these little beings and then watch as they grow up torturing us with unbearable cuteness and an unbelievable penchant for mischief, no matter the age. Some days I’d swear I was a witch instead of a mommy, and not just because we’re nearing Halloween and I don’t have any Milk Duds in the house.
So what’s a parent to do when faced with a particularly frustrating stage in our little darlings’ development? Get outta town is what we say. Find the truly off-the beaten path, kitschy, and cool destinations that not only provide a change of scenery, but a little entertainment, too.
The Alaska Marine Highway has great deals for fall and wintertime travel, including the popular “Driver Goes Free” and 30% discount for “mirror image” trips around the state’s coastal destinations. Hop aboard in Juneau and cruise the wintry waterways of Lynn Canal to Skagway, where Nordic skiing and a quiet atmosphere awaits, not to mention their annual Santa Train in December aboard the White Pass Yukon Railroad. Or stop in beautiful Haines and take a day trip to see thousands of bald eagles congregating at the Chilkat River Bald Eagle Preserve. Haines hosts a stellar Alaska Bald Eagle Festival each November (this year November 9-13), where visitors can view, learn about, and promote our national bird.
Interested in heading north, instead? Try the Murie Science and Learning Center at Mile 1.4 of the Denali Park Road. Acting as a formal visitor center during the winter months, the center is open daily 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and features a ranger, information, and opportunities to explore a quieter Denali National Park. Try snowshoeing with a ranger on weekends, read up on winter wildlife around the park, or simply relax in a comfy chair with a stellar view of the landscape. While no lodging can be found in the National Park, the communities of Healy and Cantwell both offer a few options. As always, be prepared for winter driving conditions and carry the necessary survival gear (sleeping bags, food, extra clothing, water, shovel, etc.).
Winter brings a sense of serenity to Alaska. It’s as if Mother Nature, too, is tired of her children fretting and fussing and fighting and simply wants to take a big old nap. Try exploring her snowy white blanket, sometime, and remember why we do this thing called love.
An Alaskan freelance writer, mother of two, and lifelong traveler, Erin writes the popular AK on the GO blog. Together the intrepid Kirkland clan visits potential hotspots all throughout Alaska appealing to families of all ages and interests. They search out great deals, friendly hosts, and activities that hopefully bring out the adventurer in all of us while maintaining family harmony.
As an expectant father who made a conscious and educated choice to have a child with my partner I made calculated preparations. I read printed materials, researched information on the internet, attended a six session birth preparation class with my partner, attended a three session Dad’s Pre-natal class, and even a father’s play-group. Looking back at this 9-month period in our lives I feel like I was adequately prepared for the birth of our first child and some of the changes in our lives that would happen after it. Our birth defied most of what I had learned about this event! It also quickly introduced me to the darkness I had not taken the time to learn about or research; postpartum depression.
April 14th 2008 will be a day I will remember until my death. Around 10 a.m. in the comfort of a hotel room my partner eased into contractions that soon continued with regularity. At 10:30 I placed a call to the midwife with the details of the activity and she told me that if we wanted to slowly make our way to the birth center for comfort we could. We arrived at 11:15 and it was quickly determined that we were experiencing active labor. I barely had time to get everything unpacked from our vehicle before my partner told me politely that she would like me by her side. The rest of this event flashed before me. In the last stages of labor there were only 10 pushes before this hot, wet, and crying human being was in my hands. “It’s a boy!” I shouted as he immediately urinated on my arm. It was hot, it was part of him, and I was elated! The time was 3:07 p.m. and labor had lasted just over four and a half hours. Wow all of that preparation and effort for the birth and that was it and here he was!
Less than one week after our son’s birth-day we were challenged with mother’s milk supply and our son’s needs. We quickly made arrangements to return to Juneau from where we lived to meet with a lactation consultant. It was during this appointment that some comments were made by our consultant that opened my eyes to the disorienting and painful fact that my partner was experiencing postpartum depression.
It was impossible for me to know then and now where the lines of disappointment about her challenges with breastfeeding stopped and where the postpartum depression began. It was beyond difficult, it was beyond disappointing, and it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with in my 35 years of life! I had no time to research what the symptoms were and I had no time to research what the treatment should be. I just needed to be awake in one and a half hours to help with the next feeding!
I had a few new father friends that I met with occasionally in the first months of parenthood. We had some family friends that offered their support but it was only for the basics; meals, errands, and simple other things we needed. Although we were a family in desperate emotional need I felt like most of my contacts were initiated by me. No father ever reached out to me. The one exception was my own father who attempted to reach out in his own way at an early stage when none of us had a focused picture of what the difficulty and the enormity of the challenge was. I needed support for our new family life and for myself attempting to help my partner suffering from postpartum depression and I had none. I felt like I could not even talk to my partner about what it was she was experiencing without an eruption of tears and the shouts of raw, jagged, emotion. I often felt helpless and lost.
I never felt like we actively had a specific plan of how to deal with this encompassing challenge of postpartum depression but I know what I attempted to do for her and we survived. I encouraged mommy time with other moms and girlfriends. I promoted exercise with our son and without. I made it possible for her to nap alone with her dear cat; her first baby. I encouraged her to call and email friends. I kept us busy with events and activities. I shouldered many of the domestic duties. I shared countless feedings. I told her I loved her and our son. I know all of this helped but it was not enough. We chose to see a counselor about 3 months after our son’s birth.
I was tired and my partner was exhausted. I was frustrated and my partner was hopeless. We just needed someone to tell us that we could make it through and direct us to a plan and some resources. “It’s obvious to me that you two truly do love one another” was the most helpful thing I can remember our counselor saying. I knew that with this love we could and would make it through this dark season of life. This love is what allowed us to make it this far.
Again it is hard to know when my partner eased out of this darkness but a planned permanent transition to a new life and another town seemed to diminish the depression and move us beyond the first six months of our son’s life. It was long, disorienting, and draining period. Thankfully it was a character-building experience for our partnership and me.
If you are expectant father please take some time to educate yourself about what postpartum depression is and the symptoms. If you are a new father with a partner who is currently experiencing postpartum depression find a way to patiently help her get the care that she needs and do not be afraid to ask family or friends for support. If you are a family member or friend of a family with a new addition do not concentrate all of your energies on mom and baby. Dad may need your support too and may have been forgotten in this transitional period.
After completing a Bachelor's Degree Steve SueWing journeyed to Alaska for the first time in the early spring of 1999. Over 12 years later Steve's Alaskan adventure continues now with his partner Susan and young sons Meade and Atlas. He enjoys the challenges and rewards of fatherhood and recognizes it is the biggest adventure of his life! Steve is passionate about travel, enjoys time with family and friends, and prioritizes spending time in the outdoors. Steve wants to become a pilot someday. He writes the personal blog Alaska Dad.
I've heard seniors and teachers alike talk about senioritis since my freshman year. Senioritis is a degenerative brain disease that inflicts high school seniors, making them slack their senior years because college is staring them right in the face. Symptoms include late arrival or early dismissal from school, a light class load, and generally an easy last year of high school.
Before now, I'd thought that senioritis was a choice (following my mom's mantra, "Behavior is a choice."). Everyone chooses to slack, and I wouldn't let myself fall into that same hole. But these days, I finally see the situation from the seniors' before me perspective. Everywhere I go my college future looms large, obscuring other things from my attention.
Take classes for example. I'm taking a fairly rigorous schedule, dodging that part of senioritis, but it isn't completely avoidable. Depending on which college I will go to, I may not take AP tests at the end of the year. This is because the school might not accept the credit. And if the cumulative test isn't hanging over my head, I won't work as hard. I'll just get my grade and not care about retention.
Another reason for senioritis is just plain experience. For the past 3 years I've worked my hardest in class, and got the same grade as the smart slacker who did just enough work to get an A. On a transcript, a 98% A shows up the same as a 90.1% A that was rounded up from an 89%. So now, a lot of seniors are taking advantage of that, and just doing the required amount of work. Of course this may result in a poor work ethic that may be their demise later in life, but right now, they're in high school and it's their last year.
I don’t think senioritis is all bad though. After 3 years of putting our noses to the grindstone, it's nice to have a relaxed year. It gives us time to smell the high school roses- take a class at King Career Center, an art class, or no class at all. Most kids already put enough stress on themselves with college applications, they don't need the regular school year stress that goes hand-in-hand with a taxing schedule and unbounded perfectionism that is rampant among over-achieving high schoolers. It's nice to have a year that is sort of a bridge year - by the end we'll know what path we'll take for the rest of our lives, and throughout the year, we have the opportunity to dot every I and cross every T that we forgot in the last three.
Patrick is a senior at Service High School and captain of the tennis team. He also plays in the school orchestra, and enjoys hypothesizing about the cosmos. He plans on going to college and studying Aeronautical Engineering, and joining the Air Force after.
SUNDAY MORNING BREAKFAST - that was my favorite meal of the whole week when I was growing up. I would wake up to the smell of bacon frying and go into the kitchen to find my mom, still in her PJ's, cooking up a big country breakfast. Now that I'm the PJ-wearing cook, I like to wake my family up with the delightful smell of home-made biscuits hot from the oven. With all the berries recently in, what could be better than a warm biscuit smothered in jam? They're wonderful on a lazy Sunday morning, and they freeze well, too. I often make a double batch, so I stash a few to re-heat for those not-so-leisurely school morning breakfasts.
2 c flour (Pamela's or Bob's Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose bake mixes can be substituted)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick of butter
about 1/2 cup of buttermilk (start with less and keep adding until you get a really thick pasty consistency for the dough)
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Put the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and mix gently but thoroughly. Cut the butter into 1/2" cubes and put in the flour mixture. If you have a food processor, you can put the ingredients into it and give a few bursts to mix the butter evenly into the flour, but if your goal is to wake your family with delicious smells and not noise, you may prefer the alternate method of mixing. If you don't have a food processor or prefer a quiet cooking experience, don't worry, there is a much more fun way to do the mixing. Using your finger tips, crush the butter into the flour until it is evenly distributed. You don't want chunks of butter left in the mixture because they will melt in the oven and make little greasy-biscuit-crisps instead of fluffy-jam-holders. Try to do this quickly so that the butter stays cool. If you have really warm hands, put the mixture in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the butter can cool.
Adding the buttermilk is the trickiest part. Pour about a quarter of a cup into the mixture to begin with and stir. Keep adding a little more (about a tablespoon at a time) until you get a thick paste. Cut parchment paper to fit a large cookie sheet and, using a soup spoon, scoop the mixture from the bowl in approximately 1/8 cup sized dollops. Use your finger to shove the dough off the spoon onto the parchment paper, allowing it to drop. Place the biscuits into a hot oven and bake for about 8 minutes. I usually start checking them around 6 minutes. You will know they are done when they are a little golden on top.
Serve with jam, honey, gravy, eggs, bacon, sausage, fried potatoes and butter. Well, one or two of those. We can't all be like my mom.
Brandy Steinhilber grew up in Kentucky as a member of a cooking family. Breakfast, dinner and larger family gatherings always meant sitting together around a table full of good home-cooked food, and she has carried that tradition into her home with her own family. She is a firm believer in the importance of family meals as a time to be together and listen to each other. Brandy works as an elementary school teacher at the Anchorage Waldorf School, and her hobbies include, knitting, sewing, camping, cycling, skiing, hiking and cooking.
Teenagers want independence. They want to explore their world from every angle in every opportunity, and they want to do it without us. It can be difficult for parents to know how much freedom one up-and-coming young adult should be permitted, and with whom, especially when it comes to venturing away from home.
Fortunately, outdoor recreation is cool in Alaska, so from snowmachines to skiing, backpacking to disc golf, teens in the 49th state have a ton of options for healthy ways to enjoy each others' company outside the boundaries of mom and dad’s house. As my father always said, “Busy kids are happy kids, and happy kids are kids less likely to get into trouble,” so here are a few suggestions to encourage healthy peer relationships among both guys and gals (hopefully they don’t sound too geeky, coming from a mom).
Encourage group activities. Disc golf is hot, so send the kids to one of the many courses cropping up all around the state, like the new course at Alyeska Resort, or up in Fairbanks on the UAF campus. Snowshoeing can mean a fun afternoon of plowing around the snowy drifts of Alaska’s many trail systems. Send kids down to an Alaska Public Lands Information Center to search out a trail well-suited for their abilities, and let them do the legwork for a daylong wilderness trek, including food, first aid, and way-finding. Try the Eagle River Nature Center area, or Palmer Hay Flats for a great day trip not too far from civilization or cell phone range.
Plan a longer trip together. Sure, teenager hormones rage wilder than a stormy night on the ocean, but sometimes, including a group of teens on a family trip can be just the ticket to actively demonstrate your family’s values and make some valuable connections. Make clear the rules, establish boundaries, and enjoy getting to know the important people in your teen’s life. Hint: include other parents in family meetings about destinations, activities, and expenses, and make sure everything is crystal clear regarding hotel, airfare, or transportation costs. Some brave parents I know took both daughters and their boyfriends to a family reunion at a remote fishing ranch in Colorado, and all reports indicate everybody had a wonderful time. In Alaska, options range from a weekend trip to Alyeska Resort where Family Specials provide two connecting rooms, movies, pizza, and a chance to chill after a day of skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking. Take advantage of the annual PFD sales and Constituent Fares of Alaska Airlines and fly the gang down to Juneau and explore our state capital (Bonus! They might even learn something).
Talk, talk, talk. Use trips or outings to simply hang out with kids and get to know them as people while you still have the chance. It is during these times, with no homework, soccer practice, or work meetings, that communication between teens and adults can flourish. Take a time-out with your teen and his or her pals. Eat a meal together, play a round of Monopoly (you’d be surprised at how much teens still enjoy this game), and stay up late shooting the breeze. You’ll learn a lot, and the kids will, too:.Parents are important people in a teen’s life. They need us, and we need them. Sometimes it just takes a little getaway to clear that up.