I am all for finding fun excuses to get outside during the winter! Some days it just seems too cold outside and the inside of your house is much more inviting. So on days like this I try to find a fun project to do outside that gets me excited about going out. We try to make snow candy at least once every winter and that is just what we did this week!

In January of 2020 I visited Matanuska Glacier for the first time. Since then I have returned twice, both times with my children. Let me tell you, if you go you won’t be disappointed!

I had first heard about The Nomad last spring. It was right around breakup time. I was so disappointed that I would have to wait almost a full year before it would be safe to visit this location, which is on mudflats. However, the time finally came! Just before New Years we made our way out to The Nomad!

Earlier this month we hit our goal of 1000 hours outside for the year 2020! If you haven’t heard of this challenge, it’s main objective is to get children to match screen time with outdoor time. The average child has 1200 hours of screen time each year! 1000 Hours Outside seeks to shift some of that time towards more productive time spent outdoors!

Often families post online asking for recommendations for a good hike for little ones close to the Anchorage area. My first suggestion is always Reflections lake.
Out of all the hikes we have been on Reflections Lake is likely the one we have visited most often. It is always at the top of my list when suggesting hikes for small children.
Reflections is a 1 mile Loop hike around Reflections Lake and boats amazing views or Pioneer Peak. The trail is mostly flat. Where there are hills, there is usually a path to the side that offers a less steep option. There are multiple rocky/muddy beaches along the trail, benches, and a viewing tower about halfway around. The parking at Reflections Lake is free and there are outhouses available close to the trailhead.

Summer solstice marks the longest day of the year and shortest night. It is the time of year in which earth’s north pole is at its maximum tilt towards the sun, traveling it’s longest path across the sky. This day marks the official start of the summer season.
Solstices are a big deal up here in Alaska. We get around 19 hours of daylight between sunrise and sunset on summer solstice. It is pretty modest compared to what Barrow (Utqiagvik), AK gets (approximately 79 days straight with no sunset). However, I’ll take it. And honestly, even after the official time for sunset it does not become as dark as what most people would consider “night”. It’s more like a twilight.

Recently our playgrounds opened again! We live just down the street from an elementary school and we often visit the playground there. Our first time back on this playground Jasper found a ladybug and his interest in this tiny insect inspired our ladybug nature study.

Up to this point we had always gotten the little kits at the store to dye eggs with. However, I had failed to pick one up before this virus stuff started happening and they don’t seem to be a Click List option. I know there were other options out there for dyeing eggs and so to Pinterest I went! We had everything in the house to complete Fizzing Easter Eggs so this is what I chose!

Until recently my mom lived 3700+ miles away from us. Despite this she was determined to be a part of her grandchildren’s lives. So we had a weekly Skype date with her. Earlier this year we were lucky enough to have her move much closer to us! However, despite her being only a 10 minute drive away, due to the current pandemic we have decided to keep our distance seeing as she is among the 60+ crowd and therefore considered high risk.
Over the past three years, since we moved to Alaska my mom had developed some awesome ways to stay connected with her grandchildren from afar. I figured, with the current necessity of social distancing, some grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, etc might want some suggestions on how to Skype more successfully with young children.

Jasper is been super into finding “treasure” recently. He and his friends found a Christmas ornament hanging from a tree on a recent hike. The oldest friend decided that Jasper got to keep this AMAZING find. Jasper was so proud. He also recently found a (extremely old and falling apart) piece of rope tied to a tree. He was convinced it was something super special and told me all about how no one but him was allowed to touch it. I’m not even going into the stories of all the SUPER SPECIAL rocks we have taken home with us.
I decided I would make him a little treasure hunt of sorts in honor of St. Patrick’s day. If you have some gold (or yellow) paint, rocks and chipping tools then I’m sure you can make something similar!