Keeping Kids' Rooms Warm

Back bedrooms in a lot of cabins can be cold. I know mine are and I thought it'd be nice to share a few ideas of ways to keep kids rooms warm.

Heat Blanket: You can put a heat blanket under the sheet of the bed and have it on a constant low setting throughout the night. Turn it on about an hour before bed and it will warm up the blankets so your kiddie doesn't have to climb into cold sheets.
Leave a Light On: Lights, no matter their size or type, give off a little bit of heat. Leave one on if you can afford it. Or, if your kid goes to school (and isn't too young) leave a candle lit in their room. Even a small candle can put off some major heat. In the winter I light a few candles in 'drafty cold' parts of my home and it helps counter-act the winter coolness.
Leave the Door Open: If your teen isn't throwing a hissy fit, leave the door open. It will help promote an even air flow throughout the house, so one room isn't colder than another. Basically it ensures that that room will be almost as warm as the remainer of the home.
Pack On the Blankets: Layers helps! Don't just leave your child with one blanket on their bed, give them two or three. Fleece ones make a great 'under cover' that really helps insulate heat. And because their so soft kids love snuggling up with them at night.
Add A Rug: If you have hardwood or lanolium floors, try putting down a rug. It doesn't have to be a nice carpet one. A cheap one will do. Rugs help insulate the floors and keep cold hair from coming from the basement or under the house. It also helps keep those little feet a little warmer when they jump off the bed in the morning. Plus it's a comfy place for them to play on the floor.

Containers for Carrying Things in a Backpack

What creative ways do you keep things safe while they're tucked away in your backpack? Here are a few of my ideas.

Pringles Can for Trail Mix: The lid helps keep it fresh and it's a convenient way to take it out and put it back in. You can stuff the can in a water bottle pocket for easy access and munch while you're walking.

Tupperware Container for Electronics:
Putting things like cellphones, cameras, and ipods in a tupperware container keeps them from accidentally getting wet. If it rains or something spills in your bag- they're safe. Plus the 'boxed' area helps keep things from being jostled around or crushed when you're moving.

Plastic Bag for Socks: Just like with the tupperware containers for electronics- a zip block bag for socks helps keep them dry. And dry socks could be your very best friend someday.

Crackers in a Sandwich Container: I put pilot bread crackers in sandwich sized tupperware containers. It keeps them from breaking or crumbling- and helps keep them fresh. A zip-block bag doesn't offer that kind of protection.

Before School Check List (Alaskan Style)

I've learned a thing or two about what exactly school supplies means when it comes to Alaska. So I've created a short little list of a few things every Alaskan kid should have for back to school:

Ball-Point Pens: They're less likely to freeze up in the cold weather. As a writer, I take a notebook everywhere I go, and I swear by these pens even in the middle of winter.

Waterproof Book Bag: Snow is bound to get onto a book bag- so look for ones that are made of a plastic 'glossy' material or a heavy-duty outdoors material instead of normal fabric. That way, when the snow melts. The water goes to the floor and not the books inside.

Book Covers: If your kid drops a library book in the snow, that means you could be buying it. A quick way to protect all of your kids books is to buy a book cover (they're only like $3.00 to $4.00). They're affordable and spare the school's budget on buying better books next year.

Boots: Every other school in the US, swears by sneakers. In Alaska every single child should own a pair of boots- and should wear them. If they ride the bus- they still have recess. Spare their feet and give them a shoe that can handle Alaska's weather.

Any other school supplies suggestions for the Alaskan climate and school system? Leave a comment below!

All About Alder

This is an excerpt from my tree encyclopedia, about Alder which is personally my favorite tree along with Willow. I thought some people may find it interesting or helpful.


•The catkins (flowers) can be eaten for survival purposes.
•The charcoal can be used as an ingredient in gunpowder.
•The trunk is used for firewood when smoking game and fish.
•The wood is ideal to use in bridges and troughs, because of it's waterproof properties.
•Red dye can be made from the bark.
•Green dye can be made from the leaves.
•Brown dye can be made from the twigs.
•The wood can be used for making furniture and cabinets.



courage, banish nervousness and anxiety, wealth, career opportunities, good financial fortune, bravery, growth, spiritual developement, charisma, confidence, self journey, strength, determination,charisma, leadership

•The trees are thought to be a doorway to fairy realms. Their dense branches can be used as pathways to communicate with pixies and fay.
•Carrying an alder twig while taking trips by boat or ship can bring protection from harsh waters and promote good sense of direction.
•It brings bad luck to handle alder wood with the thoughts of death.
•The wood can be made into flutes, pipes, and whistles that can be used to call on wind spirits.
•Divining rods from the wood can be used to make it rain and banish drought.

Fox, Masculine Energy, Bran, Neptune, Water, Fire, Phoroneus

•Heating the leaves in a bag and then holding it to your joints can help relieve pain.
•Tea made from the dried bark can help with inflimation and a sore throat.
•Placing the leaves in your shoes can help ease foot pain while hiking.
•Chewing on one raw leaf can alleviate stomache pain.
•Boiled alder leaves can be placed on insect stings to reduce swelling.
•Boiling the bark and adding the water to a bath can can help with body aches or chicken pox.


Common Alder
Zone: 3-7
Habitat: damp or wet soils, moist woodlands, riversides, swamps, tolerate poor soils
Identification: Grows to a large sized shrub with round green leaves and oval shaped lenticels or "tears" in the bark. The leaves have a bit of a ragged edge that looks similar to torn paper. They also often times curve in at the end of the leaf like a heart. They have horizontal symmetrical viens going out from both sides of the center vien of the leaf. They have long yellow-brown catkins and small red clusters of cones (that look like small pine cones) that harden when pollinated.
Mountain Alder
Zone: 2-6
Habitat: moist nutrient-rich soils, in forests along streams, bogs, near willow trees
Identification: A small tree that tends to grow in clusters. They have leaves similar to the common alder, but with a point at the end and they tend to be rounder. The viens going through the leaf also often times have a bit of a whiter tint to them. The front of the leaf is green, the back is lighter with a hairy surface. Has catkins and cones just like common alder. Has yellow-brown bark with oval shaped tears in the bark.
Red Alder
Zone: 2-6
Habitat: grows after disturbances, full sun areas, wet soils
Identification: Small tree with white bark. They do share the common alder's "tears" but they tend to be sparcer and a bit bigger in size. Younger trees have a greenish-brown bark with white tears. More than often this tree will house lichens. Leaves are very similar to the common alder, with a slightly more oval shape.
Siberian Alder
Zone: 3-7
Habitat: swamps, bogs, wet soils with long winters, near streams
Identification: A small sized tree that has brownish-gray bark with the typical alder "tears" (oval like scars) and catkins and cones. Leaves are similar in comparison to the common alder, but are more vibrantly green. The leaves also seem to be rounder and wider than the common alder.
Sitka Alder (Green Alder)
Zone: 4-7
Habitat: near willows, rocky soils, river gravels, stony slopes, mountains, tracks of avalanches
Identification: Sharing leaves practically identical to the common alder this alder is differentiated by it's whitish bark and white female cones. The male catkins are long and yellowish in color. The leaves turn to a purple color in fall.
Speckled Alder
Zone: 2-6
Habitat: acedic soils, in dense forest areas with other trees and shrubs, bogs, swamps, tundra
Identification: Practically identical to the common alder, but with very distinct white "tears" in the bark. These tears are small, but very thick on the bark and also appear on the branches- where as only on the trunks of other alders. The bark is a rusty-brown color and branches tend to grow very thick with this kind of alder.

Yearning For Something Northern

I took my knit mittens and ever so slowly reached out
In one last haphazard attempt I tried to catch a snowflake
But it disappeared into a gust of the wind
And whisked through the willow branches with one subtle shake

I sighed a deep breath of chilled frosted air
And stepped onto the empty ice of the frozen Yukon water
My seal skin mukluks barely grip to the few texture ridges
Yet I feel connected to the ground like a mother to a daughter

Sometimes I wonder if my parka and mittens are where I belong
For a midwest girl, Eskimos seem so far from home
But somehow this tundra land speaks to my hopeless heart
And I know it's the one place in the world I want to roam

I feel the rythem of the salmon as the pass by every summer
I know the ways of the waterfowl every spring and every fall
In the winter, the cold warms me in a way not a quilt could
And I find evening contentment in the arctic wolf's call

So who's to say that a blond of blue eyes and city nature
does not belong in a world of snowflakes and freezing nights
I think that fate takes you where you need to go
And where I needed had northern lights

Keeping Kids 'Bright' During Cabin Fever Season

Now that Christmas is over and school is started, it seems like a lot of kids are getting antsy. The lack of sunlight and short days don't make for much excitement outside of school. So what do you do to keep your kids 'bright' even during our dark days?

Here are a few ideas I've come up with:

Play Outside: Best idea I can suggest! Build snowmen, go sledding, go ice skating, play with your outdoor pets, have a snowball fight, take a snowmachine ride- anything!

Keep Your Lights On: We have bright flourecent lights in our house. And we keep them on long after the sun goes down. They stay on until at least 9:00 every night- which helps prevent that lack of vitamen D from Mister Sunshine's short visits.

Use a Night Light: For kids I've heard this helps them in the winter time because it gives them that constant sense of light that the outdoors is missing. I know some children can't sleep with one, but if your kids can it might be a worthwhile investment.

Have a 'Chimes' Alarm Clock: Instead of an alarming buzzing noise, a chimes alarm clock sounds like chimes. And it starts out soft and low and slowly gets louder- so it doesn't wake you up abruptly. It helps keeps kids in a good mood when they're waking up in pitch black darkness for school. As a teenager these totally made my mornings easier!

New Years Resolutions (Alaskan Style)

I thought it would be fun to make a list of new year's resolutions worthy for Alaskans! A selection of things every Alaskan should challenge themselves to do this year.

Money Saving Goals
Only order online from sites with free shipping to Alaska.
Buy more items from local thrift shops. Good deals + Support the AK economy= Win Win

Activity Goals
Get outside in the winter. Go iceskating, snowmachine, build a snowman, walk your dog.
Try a new winter sport (skiiing, snowboarding, dogsledding, snowmachining).
Go on a summer hiking tour with tourists. You get to tell your stories and be active!

In Alaska Goals
Try some eccentric native foods (seal oil, blackmeat, dry fish, boiled salmon heads)
If you dare: The Polar Bear Plunge
Visit a big Alaskan event (Fur Rondy, Alaska State Fair, Iditerod)
Do Pick.Click.Give!

What are your New Years Resolutions for 2013? Leave a comment below!