This blog is for all parents; those in the traditional workforce, those who work from home, and those who work at home. Join our conversations about balancing the needs of family with the demands of work, discovering resources and activities around Alaska, and opening a dialogue about the perks and challenges of parenthood. One of our three contributors emphasizes teen and family issues. We welcome your comments but please keep them on point and civil. Avoid personal attacks and the use of profanity.
Cleaning out the closets - 3/1/2012 9:24 am
Lotteries, tours and a fair - 1/16/2012 9:02 pm
Local MOM approved restaurant added to the list - 8/17/2011 1:47 pm
Gratitude in the princess aisle - 11/24/2010 1:29 pm
Time is of the Essence - 10/13/2010 8:23 pm
Memorable Moments - 8/19/2010 2:34 pm
Alaska businesses go above and beyond - 3/21/2010 3:17 pm
Fight child abduction by taking action - 1/29/2010 4:55 pm
Posted: August 5, 2008 - 9:41 pm
With the promise of better weather and a minus tide, my husband and I decided to make a visit down towards Homer, our favorite getaway, especially this time of year. The best clam digging is in the aptly named Clam Gulch at Mile 137 along the Sterling Highway. Other promising spots are in Ninilchik and Whiskey Gulch, if your car can handle the incredibly steep dirt road down to the beach.
Saturday morning found us packing the car with waders, shovels, and a bucket for a few hours of clamming a short distance from Homer. We love clam digging; ocean breezes, miles of beach, and clams, lots and lots of clams. Our kids love rooting around in the holes left by hundreds of other shovels and clam guns (my youngest found a sea star, some fish, and a bunch of interesting rocks this weekend).
Posted: August 3, 2008 - 9:11 pm
With rising fuel prices, telecommuting and flexible hours are being offered by employers more and more these days. Flexible hours are an attractive proposition for those in the work force who want to balance life responsibilities with work. But beware. Make sure you do your homework before taking that flexible job that seems all too perfect.
Out of curiosity, I typed in “flexible hours” for Anchorage based jobs on a popular job search engine. A position came up for an Online Content Producer at a local television news station. As someone with a background in news, I know better. Flexible hours and news do not go hand-in-hand. Why? You can’t plan news. It happens and those in the business are expected to react – no matter what. Sure enough, under responsibilities, here was their reference to a flexible schedule:
Posted: July 29, 2008 - 8:59 pm
Determined to make the most of summer in spite of record rainfall, we treated ourselves last weekend to a fascinating look at Alaskan history.
Just outside Wasilla are two family-friendly attractions that will appeal to everyone. The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industrysite at Mile 47 of the Parks Highway is a journey into the past of Alaskan modes of getting places. True to the vision and creativity of Alaskans, this museum delivers a plethora of sleds, trucks, trains, and everything in between. So delighted by the "touchability" of the nearly 20 acres of the motarized Mecca, our son ran amok, unable to decide if he wanted to climb on a caboose first or sit at the helm of a creaky old fire truck. Indoors, we came out of the rain at a tour through time with a history of the Alaskan Bush pilot, complete with a real airplane cockpit in which to sit and flip switches, headset in place. Staff were warm and welcoming to our busy little boy, showing him right off the bat how to work the train whistle at the entrance.
Posted: July 28, 2008 - 8:47 am
During my daily reading ritual, I came across an excellent blog published by BusinessWeek and thought I'd share the gift of a good link this week. The blog, called Working Parents, addresses issues and day-to-day concerns of working parents. The most recent post has some ideas on how people can cut costs to compensate for a rising cost of living. Click Here to read more.
Posted: July 23, 2008 - 7:30 am
In the interest of retaining a few extra gallons of gas in the family truckster, and to appease our preschooler who has been dying to take the "City Bus", the three of us hopped on Route 75 and headed downtown last Saturday afternoon.
Opinions about and against People Mover, our local transit system, have been flying furiously since gas prices moved above the $4 mark a few months ago. Since many of the activities parents participate in are out of the neighborhood context, I thought it might be prudent to investigate the use of city transit from our home near the Tudor/Muldoon curve.
Posted: July 20, 2008 - 7:50 pm
In case you haven’t noticed, this is a huge election year. The Primary Election on Tuesday, August 26 and the General Election on Tuesday, November 4 will greatly impact the future of our city, state and nation. As busy parents, we often lose sight of key political events and developments. Work, laundry, meals, play dates and grocery shopping tend to become the focus, as they are the immediate priorities.
It is critical for parents to bump political education up on the priority list. Why? We as parents are the collective voice for our children. WHO voters elect will directly impact families, finances, schools, and virtually everything else tied in with our everyday routines. So who are the family-friendly candidates?
Posted: July 18, 2008 - 10:12 am
A mother asks: "I have an eight year old daughter that hates school. She is teased and picked on. She is a great reader, and is bright, engaged, and adored at home, but is already upset about the return to school this fall. What should I do?"
First, take her seriously. Tell her you understand and that you will do everything you can to fix it, but let her know she has to take responsibilty for her own survival as well.
Second, make an appointment with the principal of her school soon, before school starts, and let him or her know what is going on. My guess is that there is specific child that is doing the bullying, so request that they not, if possible, be in the same class. Bullying or harassment is real and wrong and no child should have to suffer it. You really need to hold the line on this and demand accountability from school officials. You are are trusting them to care for your child for eight hours a day and they better do it.
Posted: July 16, 2008 - 7:46 am
What kid doesn't like digging up stuff? We found the perfect opportunity to do just that last week at the Alaska Museum of Natural History, 201 North Bragaw Street.
Pleasantly surprising in its depth of programming, the Museum is a little gem, offering plenty of supervised activities for children, preschool through school-age. With a wiggly preschooler, sometimes museums are not the most appropriate venue for an outing. But the Natural History Museum is hosting summertime experiences for kids that engage and enrapture their sense of wonder about the natural world.
Posted: July 14, 2008 - 9:47 am
It is challenging to find the time to cook a healthy meal or to exercise, but parents and their children are paying the price for unhealthy lifestyles. According to a Center for Disease Control Study, more than one-third of U.S. adults, over 72 million people, are obese. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type two diabetes. Fitness expert Karen Patten has a solution to this national dilemma. Karen Patten in her own words:
Posted: July 11, 2008 - 5:35 am
I took last Friday off, as it was 4th of the July, and traditionally there were only two vacation days here in southeast Alaska for the goldminers, the 4th and Christmas. Being a parent sometimes is like being a goldminer. Some days you hit the mother lode of "mom I love yous" and perfect meals and happy outings, and on others you might as well be panning for bright flecks of hope in tons of wet sand and gravel. I read in the NY Times this week that more college graduates are living back home than ever before. The article took this a negative, and blamed parents of this generation for coddling their children.
Posted: July 9, 2008 - 7:18 am
I am happy to report that the Kirkland family's holiday Stay-cation was a down-home success.
Sunday morning's gray skies and drizzle prompted us to head out for a cheery breakfast at Snow City Cafe on 4th Avenue. Bolstered by our breakfast, but not quite ready to head home, my husband suggested taking a look at Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Salmon Viewing station on Ship Creek.
Posted: July 6, 2008 - 8:52 pm
Corporations, cargo operators, coffee shop owners, truck drivers, city budgets, office budgets, families, you name it, rising energy prices are touching all corners of everyday life. Here is the good news; there is a silver lining in the higher cost of living. Employers are thinking out-of-the-box to help their employees deal with soaring energy costs.
The Families and Work Institute is exploring how companies, cities and organizations are helping employees cope. Compuware, headquartered in Detroit, sets up vanpools, coordinates car shares and bus rides -- all paid for on a pretax basis. REI installed a customized work environment program (CWE) in some departments at its headquarters several months ago. Initially, the program’s main goal was to help employees achieve greater work-life balance; now, the employees are saving money on gas. CWE allows employees to select alternate commute times to avoid traffic or the opportunity to work from home a few days a week, based upon each department’s need. Bon Secours Richmond Health System encourages compressed work weeks and telecommuting whenever possible, provides gas cards as incentives for career fair recommendations or referrals, and offers retention bonuses on case-by-case basis, to retain employees with long commutes.
Posted: July 2, 2008 - 7:26 am
A three-day weekend would normally push our family into action; loading up the car with camping gear and fishing poles for a sojourn down the highway. This Independence Day weekend, however, the Kirklands are trying out the hottest trend in summer travel. Or, rather, lack of travel. We are going to go nowhere fast, on a "Stay-cation".
As the state's gasoline prices climb higher and higher, we decided to try a weekend recreating at home. Why not? We happen to live in a fabulous city with a ton of fun activities right under our noses, and along with a dose of backyard camping, it could shape up to be a weekend to remember.
Posted: June 29, 2008 - 8:46 pm
I’ve been wondering lately about my choice to leave the workforce. We are living on one steady income, and that is a challenge. Will I be able to get a “real job” after being out of the loop so long? Is it better for my daughter to be in daycare around other kids instead with me all of the time? Then, three events over the past week helped me to understand that these are just thoughts that do not need to be validated with worry.
The first event was that I made bread with my Mom. I’ve started milling my own flour using Prairie Gold grain that is grown in Montana. My Mom made bread all of the time when I was growing up, but I had no interest in learning about the process. Now I’m interested because I don’t want my daughter to eat nutrition poor food that is made with processed white flour. I made five loaves of seven grain bread, and milled enough flour for pancakes.
Posted: June 27, 2008 - 9:14 am
A reader asks:
How did you handle the first crush your 13/14 year olds had? How much do you question, probe, pay attention, etc.? How much do we parents hover? I say hover as much as you need to, but I know parents who let their kids have a whole lot of freedom, and I would just not be comfortable with that, given how much kids seem to know these days. How did you and Chip ( my husband) handle this ?
We prayed. Then we remembered what it was like when we had a first crush, then we paid attention, close attention.
If they said they were going out with their new love, we asked where, and who would be there, and when they would be home. (Although we said when they would be home, say ten, eleven, or midnight, tops). If my son said he was going to his girl’s house, we made sure her parents were home. If she came here we made sure they weren’t in his room. Our house in those teen years was run like a southern women’s college dormitory— no sweeties upstairs.
Posted: June 24, 2008 - 10:05 pm
There are a lot of kilts in our house, worn by the males during any special (or not so special) occasion that emphasizes the love of the Homeland. Scotland, that is, and this weekend is no different. We have been pulling out the MacGregor tartans in preparation for the 2008 Alaska Scottish Highland Games, held this Saturday at Eagle River Lions Park.
Posted: June 22, 2008 - 9:13 pm
It appears more and more employers are buying into the fact that fostering a family-friendly office leads to higher retention and greater productivity. A 2008 National Study of Employers recently released by the Families and Work Institute supports that notion.
Posted: June 20, 2008 - 9:44 pm
When my children were small, a friend asked me for some advice. She wanted to know why they seemed so well behaved. Her toddler, she said, (and it was true) was a nightmare. He was in constant motion. When they went out to a restaurant with friends, especially childless ones, it was a disaster. The child would not sit still. It was no fun at all.
Well, my children were no different. If I had taken them out she would have seen that they could pitch a hearty fit, and that they did not enjoy a nice chat over coffee and desert, at all. But she never did see them out of their element because when I “went out” it was “in.”
Posted: June 17, 2008 - 11:11 pm
Saddle up, moms and dads! The time for introducing cycling as a worthwhile family activity is now; your children may be riding their bikes to high school rather than driving if gas prices go up any more.
Anchorage has 250 miles of pathways and trails for bikes, and our family loves to explore them. My husband commutes through Russian Jack Springs Park on his way to the VA Medical Center and enjoys every forested mile. Road, mountain, and backyard trail, the bike is making a comeback as a transportation mode of choice. Better get out there and show your kids how easy it is.
Don't have a bike? Visit REI and talk with their Bike Guys, attend a clinic, or take a test ride to see what fits best. While Anchorage has a bunch of other bike shops, REI still delivers top-notch service and knowledgable staff. Plus, they love to talk family biking. The store and Web site stock bikes, accessories, trailers, and the gear everyone needs to ride safely and comfortably. Let them show you the stuff and then decide what will accommodate your tribe the best.
Posted: June 15, 2008 - 10:24 pm
Airline flight attendants tell passengers that, in an emergency, to put their oxygen masks on first before helping their children. Why? Parents need to take care of themselves before they can take care of their kids. This is a good model to follow, especially for working parents.
It is challenging to find the time to cook a healthy meal or to exercise, but parents and their children are paying the price for unhealthy lifestyles. According to a Center for Disease Control Study, more than one-third of U.S. adults, over 72 million people, are obese. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type two diabetes. Luckily there is a simple solution - get moving!