Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ducksday USA Rain Suit Giveaway

 I have to admit, I'm afraid to post this giveaway. I hate to jinx all this AMAZING weather we have been having in Anchorage and surrounding areas! Lucky for you I'm NOT superstitious, so here is the awesome giveaway: Ducksday USA Rainsuit from Ollie and Stella Children's Outfitters! Go ahead, click the link, I'll give you a minute to check out all the cool and vibrant colors these rainsuits come in. Seriously, go check them out, because you'll need to know which one you would choose if you win. It took me forever to choose and I think I changed my mind 3 times. Here is the link again if you didn't check them out a couple of sentences ago: Ducksday USA Rainsuit.


 Okay, you got the color you would pick? It's okay if you change your mind as you read. I'm not kidding, I changed my mind so many times and as I emailed Linn at Ollie and Stella Children's Outfitters, I wasn't sure if I was typing the right choice! I do love the choice we went with, which was "Ace," but I'm pretty sure I'm going to order the "Funky Red" or "Groovy" next time. But then again, THIS new color is coming this fall! Ugh, here I go again....

 I got to try out this rainsuit in the snow this winter AKA Alaska spring. As long as I put warm layers on under the rainsuit, it keep my daughter warm. Ollie and Stella also make adorable fleeces that can be warn under the rainsuit as well. The rainsuit kept her dry in the wet snow.

 Let's talk features. The rainsuit has great colors going for it, but that doesn't hold up here in AK. As you know that Anchorage was ranked  1st for worst dressed people, we are not about looking cute as much as we are for warmth and comfort. There are lots of features that are great. There are 2 reflective strips on the shoulders, which helps in the Alaskan dark days. It also comes with a liner through out the whole suit which adds extra protection from the elements.

 My daughter's favorite feature is the pockets! There are 3 large pockets to put rocks, snacks, grass, bugs, hand warmers, etc in. I like how it has those big rubber zipper tags on it so it's easier for my daughter to zip/unzip herself. Very useful when you have your mittens on in the snow! The material holds up to the elements as well! My son wore it and did otter slides down the snowy hill. (Otter slides are on your belly, face first.) I was kind of freaked out at first because I thought he would tear the rainsuit, but after several slides, it was still good as new!

 The sizes run a little big which I like, plenty of room for layers. Peanut is wearing the 4-5 year old size and she will be able to wear it next year. My 6 year old can wear it comfortably as well. There is velcro and elastic around the wrist cuffs to help keep snow/water out. There is a stirup and elastic around the ankle cuffs to keep snow/water out as well. Have to admit, I don't care for the stirup, so I just tuck it in the pant leg and the elastic still does a great job keeping elements out. I would think the stirup would come in handy if the rainsuit is getting short on your child and it keeps it from riding up. After our walk outside in the rain and puddle jumping, Peanuts feet were nice and dry! The hood also has velcro and elastic to make it smaller or bigger, which makes room for beanies.

Overall, I LOVE this rainsuit! I seriously wish it came in my size! The rainsuits only go up to the 4-5 year old sizes, BUT there are separates for the older kids here. I'm excited that Ollie and Stella Children's Outfitters  is going to give a rainsuit away to one of my lucky readers!! Whoop, whoop! There are several ways to up your chances of winning so be sure to read the rules! This is only open to Alaskan residents as well.

Be sure to like their Facebook page to keep up with all their new products! Visit their main website too because they have other cool products for this summer!

Contest ends Monday night June 17, 2013. Good luck!

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bella Kids $25 Gift Certificate Giveaway

 It's that time again for Bella Kids Consignment Sale!! Get your shopping on April 5-7th at the Former Special Events Party Store, 4621 Palmer Wasilla Hwy. These photos are from the last event, look at all the goodies! Be sure to follow them on facebook to learn more!

  You can buy new and gently used baby, toddler and kid gear.
 What are you looking for? I'm sure you will find it at the sale! Toys, books, shoes, car seats, and more!

Grab a friend so you can scope things out, tell your friends who are expecting or sign up to sell your items that your kids have outgrown!
Wanna win a $25 gift certificate to do some shopping at Bella Kids? Follow the directions on Rafflecopter! You can be enter several ways! Giveaway will end Monday morning! Good Luck!

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Skedaddle Guest Post

  When I had invisioned Alaska's Kids, I wanted to have a review on all the different playgrounds throughtout the state on the blog. Well 3 kids later and not enough time, I wasn't able to do it. But I was so thrilled to learn about Skedaddle! Skedaddle is a parent group that meets together OUTSIDE rain or shine, every Tuesday at a different park in Anchorage, and have reviews on the parks they visit.

 The group is part of Anchorage Outdoor Family Network , who you can also find on Facebook. Lia organizes Skedaddle and I'm so glad that there is a group where parents can connect while their kids burn off energy outside. Be sure to join a Skedaddle and meet some new friends!

Lia, take it away!

Hello!  I am Lia Keller, born and raised in Anchorage, AK.  I am now raising my two wild sons here in the place I grew up!  I also have an all-weather playgroup meeting each Tuesday at 10 in a playground around town. 

  I don’t have one favorite movie or even an all time favorite song.  My favorite color has held steady with “sea glass” (I guess technically that is about three or four colors) for a few years now.  So when Jamie asked me to write about my favorite playground in Anchorage, I was at a loss.  I love so many playgrounds in Anchorage - Lynn Ary in Turnagain, Carlson Park in Midtown and Nunaka Valley North on the Eastside to name a few. 

 Most Anchorage Parents are familiar with those playgrounds and might need a change of scenery.  So, instead of my most favorite park in Anchorage, I am presenting you with  my “list” of favorite parks in Anchorage.  I hope you find a new place to take your children and maybe add one to your list of favorite parks.

My kids want to explore - Johns Park

            Along with the typical playground equipment, this park sits along a stream and forrest.  There is even a trail loop with a bridge.

Time to kill downtown - Nulbay Park

            Most families flock to the old Elderberry Park when downtown.  Instead, I like to visit this park with whale sculptures you can climb.  There is grass and sand, so bring shovels and buckets. 

Sledding - Sitka Street Park

            Go past Russian Jack and steer clear of Service High School for sledding.  Sitka Street has a fantastic sledding hill.  Little kiddos can zip down the side and you can have fun on the front of the hill.  They are putting in a skate park this summer and I hope they leave my favorite hill alone!

Crisp, Fall day - Pop Carr Park

            The playground isn’t the best in town, but the trees are amazing.  Huge piles of leaves gather on the little hills.  There is a large grassy area and paved trail for little bikers.

My kids want trains - Alderwood Park

            Sunset HIll has a great little playground that has a train station and train with multiple cars.  There also are swings, grass and a bench for me to sit as the boys go on train trips all over the world.


Raining cats and dogs - Storck Park

            While my boys will play outside in any weather, I don’t mind a shelter over my head in the rain.  Stork park has a great picnic shelter that is even glassed one side blocking the wind.  The play areas are right next to the shelter so I can stay dry and knit as my boys run off their energy!

Thanks Lia!

If you want to see all the parks and playgrounds Anchorage has to offer, visit this website, Anchorage Park Foundation. And don't forget to get some fresh air with your little ones with Skedaddle!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chewy S'mores Granola Bars Guest Post

 There is a sense of accomplishment and joy when I make our food from scratch. Whew! Lots of hours in the kitchen though! But it's worth it to me knowing where our food comes from and what exactly is in it. I've been trying to make more snacks as well so this post is perfect for our household!
 If you haven't read Maya's blog over at Alaska From Scratch, head on over there after you read her yummy recipe for Chewy S'mores Granola Bars posted below. She has some amazing recipes and beautiful photos to look at. Whenever I look at her photos of food, it makes want to jump through the screen and eat it. Just look at the granola bar below! Don't you want to grab and take a huge bite! I can already taste the yumminess and feel how chewy it is! I need to go make these, but first, take it away Maya!

 Hi Alaska's Kids Readers! I'm Maya from Alaska from Scratch. I'm a mom of three, a pastor's wife, an associate pastor, and a food blogger from the Kenai Peninsula. Since our family of five transplanted to Alaska from California two years ago, I've been cooking from scratch to help keep our grocery bills down and to provide wholesome meals and snacks for my family. One of our favorites are my Chewy S'mores Granola Bars and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to share the recipe with you here at Alaska's Kids. A regular box of popular brand granola bars in our part of Alaska can run right about $5 for 10 bars, occasionally less. In addition to saving money, there's a certain satisfaction that comes with making these at home and knowing exactly what goes into these favorite lunchtime snacks.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Real and Raw- Special Needs

 I've really wanted to start blogging more about me personally on this page and not just the going ons in Alaska. It is my desire to reach out and connect personally, so I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and hoping to be embraced.

 If you don't already know, I have a daughter that is special needs. We call her Peanut. You can read about her miracle story. She has been diagnosed with microcephaly, which means small head, and cerebral palsy. Due to her brain trauma at birth, she has developmental delays. She is a tiny, fragile thing who puts up a fight.

 My youngest daughter is 2 years younger then Peanut, we call her Snugglebug. Snugglebug was born completely healthy. As she gained weight, I knew she would pass Peanut because Peanut didn't gain weight fast. Generally, Peanut was in the 3% for weight gain. That time has come. Snugglebug is a pound heavier then Peanut. That didn't bother me as much as I thought it was going to, but it still stung.

 The hard time I'm having now and I don't think I'm truly facing is that Snugglebug is going to pass Peanut developmentally and mentally. They play so well together right now. It's like they are on the same page. People constantly ask me if they are twins.

 A lot of "what ifs" cross my mind. What's going to happen when Snugglebug passes Peanut? Is Peanut going to be left behind? Or is it not going to bother me as much like the weight issue. I'm so sad when I see my Peanut having a hard time engaging other 4 year olds. No parent wants their child left out.

 What's going to happen when she is older? Will she have the life her brother and sister will have? Will she be able to engage other teenagers? Will she have friends that call her to talk? Will she have crushes? Will boys be interested in her? Will people find her as beautiful that I think she is? Will she be able to go to college? Will she be able to live on her own? Will she be able to get married and have a baby? All these questions bring pain to my heart because I don't know the answer. I'm afraid to know the answer.

 Parenting is hard. I don't have answers. All I can think about is what the neurologist told us, "peanut will tell and show you." The more I realize I don't have control of my life, the easier it is to let go and live. But it doesn't mean I don't have feelings through it. I'm sad and afraid for her. Then I look at her and how much she loves life. It brings gladness to my heart and I'm not as sad and afraid for her.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Alaska Museum of Natural History

  It had been awhile since I've visited the Alaska Museum of Natural History, like a couple of years! I'm so glad that we finally went back to check it out! If you haven't been there yet, it's off Bragaw and Mountain View Drive. MOUNTAIN VIEW DRIVE you are probably screaming in your head, it's really in a safe area, right off the highway. Go, it's a blast!

 As soon as you walk in you are met with a large woolly mammoth the kiddos can sit on. The price is affordable at $5 an adult and $3 a kid (3-12). There are great programs offered like Tinker Time, which is held every Monday from 10a-12p. There is a craft, activities and a storytime with a focus on a theme. This is great for the younger ones. 

 Imagine having a sleepover with this huge skeleton! That's right! You can have a birthday party at the museum! There are stuffed animals everywhere! Personally, I'd be freaked out. I was afraid of dinosaurs after I watched Jurassic Park, so I wouldn't do so well sleeping here. But I know some kids that would have a blast!

 The main reason why I love this museum is because it is so hands on. The staff encourage you to touch! There are only a few things that are hands off, but the signs are clearly labeled. It is so nice to not have to be on each kids with "look with our eyes, not our hands!" I can actually sit back and relax. I get to touch the cool stuff as well, bonus! The exhibits are really cool too. I mean look at the exhibit of the size of eyes above! Cool and gross!

 I'm a very visual and hands on learner so this museum is right up my alley! My kids love seeing all the stuffed animals and touching them. There are bright colors every where, so much to look at. This museum has a cozy feel to it. When it's slow and not a lot of people around, they let their sweet dog walk around. I love that, very Alaskan. It's cool to see all the artifacts that have been found in Alaska, right in our backyard!

 There is a dino dig where kids to search for bones and dinosaurs. I really like how a kid can have their own area. No fighting over the toys. There are chairs so the parents can sit and watch. In this little kid area, there are books, chalkboard, marble runs, and more for kiddos to play. FYI, if your kiddos loves dinos, this is a great place to see them in Alaska!

 This was my kids favorite thing to do, build a molecule! Of course they didn't understand what they were doing. They just wanted to see how high they could get it. While they were doing that, I actually got to read all the cool facts about the different minerals and rocks that were found in Alaska. In this area, there is a really cool gadget that allows you to get up close and personal! It's a microscope that shows up on the TV. So you can put the scope over rocks or your hands! You can show your kids all the dirt on their hands so they can see why its important to wash them.

 We definitely will be going back sooner then later. Especially when we are learning about fossils, animals, dinos or rocks for homeschool. Some advice, call before you go. There was a school group when we got there and it was a little cramped. Or go on Mondays for Tinker Time, it's a lot of fun. I like this museum more then the Anchorage Museum downtown, it fits our families needs right now. Grab your family and visit today!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Power Of Pause

 I'm thankful for the Internet in that I can research from home on any subject I would like. Parenting seems to be one of my top research subjects. Why, what, when, how to parent my kid. Now sometimes you can get caught up in it and shame creeps in. That's why I stick to the sites that are encouraging. One place I always check in on is Denali Parent Coaching on Facebook. Alice always has encouraging, wise words posted on her statuses. I've also had the joy of talking with Alice face to face and I always walk away encouraged about my parenting.

 I'm sharing with you an article that Alice wrote. I hope it encourages you as it did me. I hope I can encourage you that it is okay to ask for help. To ask for help doesn't make you a bad parent. In fact, I think it makes you a better parent because you want to do what is best for your family. I hope this article spurs you on towards positive parenting.

The Power of Pause
                                            Transforming relationships one pause at a time

  My eldest daughter has been a great teacher for me—I like to refer to her as my “practice child,” for her younger sister has reaped the benefits of all that Iʼve learned from her. My greatest lesson? The power of pause. It seems to me this is the baseline for growing positive, respectful, all around healthy relationships with our children...and it took my child to bring it to my attention. I admit, I am still working on developing this skill—it is difficult, and the results can be amazing—often transformational.

  As Emily entered the teen years, our altercations ramped up. One particular time stands out as a turning point in my awareness of the value of pausing. Emily wanted something and I was reacting with my usual and quick “NO!” She mirrored my reactive-ness and verbally fought back. Things escalated and soon she was in a full out tantrum, one that would rival any toddlerʼs. Iʼm not sure if I screamed (losing it just as my daughter had) for her to go to her room or if she just stomped off, but her door slammed and all became quiet. I remember sitting there on the floor, tears streaming down my face, seething with anger. My cat came to curl onto my lap—Iʼm not sure whether to seek comfort or to give it—and as I stroked her I found I could begin to collect myself.

  My husband and I talked about what just unfolded and I began to relax and wish I could take back how I had behaved with Emily. And then I was completely surprised, for my daughter came out of her room, pushed the cat gently out of my lap, and curled her young womanʼs sized body into it. She lay there just as my cat had been moments before—curled up tight. I found the last of my reactive-ness fade away and I continued my stroking—but on my daughterʼs back this time. Soon we began talking and before long we had apologized, collaborated, and compromised—reaching a decision that truly was a win-win for both of us. A transformational moment in our relationship.

  What allowed such a transformational experience to unfold? Emily employed the power of pause. She removed herself, calmed herself down, and reconnected. Her removing herself gifted me a pause, as well. I had space to let go of my anger, to take deep breaths, to calm myself down—allowing me to be receptive to her reconnection. My lessons didnʼt stop here. Many times through her teen years Emily created the pause that I was having a hard time doing. I grew to admire her ability to come back calmed down and ready to listen as well as be heard. My heart would open up, I would be able to hear what she was saying, and weʼd usually find solutions that worked for both of us. But it took her being what I consider the bigger person—she used the power of pause successfully long before I did. She has been a great teacher.

  How have I used my lessons? I now find I am able to be the one to employ a pause prior to responding reactively when one of my daughters “pushes my button.” My pause looks different with each situation. Sometimes I model myself after a friend who is a pro at this already and say, “Let me think on that awhile and Iʼll get back to you”—and then I do, even if it takes all day to find the calm from which to work from. Sometimes I break eye contact, turning my attention to a chore that needs to be done. There have been times when all I can say is “Iʼm feeling angry, I need to take a walk,” and then do so. And there are moments when I literally zip and lock my mouth and just sit with my child in their feelings.

  Each time I find I am able to return to the subject of concern feeling ready to ask questions, listen, and be heard—as well as respected. What a difference from yelling, banging doors, tears, and “Iʼm going to do it anyway, you canʼt stop me” experiences. What message am I giving my girls when I can remain calm and connected as they explore the limits of life? I like to think they are learning appropriate ways to be an adult and to handle strong feelings. I believe they are feeling heard and respected, and in return they often find the limits I make acceptable. I look back on how Emily and I were a few years ago, and where we are now— our relationship has transformed into a mutually respectful and loving one that brings me incredible joy. I credit the power of pause as the key that unlocked our struggling relationship and allowed it to bloom.

  What does a pause allow us to do—especially when employed before reacting? It allows us to act based on what we want the most (for me, a positive and respectful relationship) rather than re-act based on the emotion or circumstance of the moment. And it is from this calm and connected place we can then influence our children in positive ways. When we use a pause, we have the ability to transform our relationships.

  When have you felt great about and confident in the outcome of a conflict with your child? What did you notice about yourself? What could be different for you and your child the next time your button is pushed if you are able to create a pause and respond from a place of calm? What does pausing look like to you?

  We all want positive, respectful relationships with our children—and we want our children to grow up experiencing the same. Using the power of pause is a simple tool that has the profound ability to transform our relationships, from infancy on. Take a moment today, before reacting to your child, and think about what it is you want most with your relationship, and how this interaction could be a stepping stone in that direction. Take a moment to pause.

Alice Hanscam is a PCI Certified Parent Coach®, Certified Screamfree Trainer, and owner of Denali Parent Coaching. Visit her website at www.denaliparentcoaching.com or contact her at 868-6933 or denaliparentcoaching@gmail.com for more information.