Adventures in Alaska

So, reality started to set in a few weeks ago. We are all about to go back to school and work soon. G-Man heads back to college, the remaining Heathens will finally return to in-person school, and the husband goes back to a travel-heavy work schedule. We will no longer have flexible schedules and routines will return with a vengeance. We decided we wanted one last trip before summer ends, but one that was far different from anything we’ve done before. I called my handy-dandy travel agent, and we were soon on our way to an Alaskan cruise.

I have never been on a cruise, or had any desire to do one. But, she convinced me that this really was the best option for a last minute trip to Alaska, and the Royal Caribbean ship  would only operate 40% capacity for safety (and with serious restrictions in the ports). She wasn’t kidding. The staff to guest ratio was 2:1. Y’all, I was skeptical but this ended up being the best vacation we’ve ever experienced. The weather was glorious (a rarity according to local residents), the food was amazing, and the excursions blew our minds.

Our ports included Sitka, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Due to Covid, we could only exit the ship for excursions that were limited strictly to passengers (because Bean is only 9 and can’t be vaccinated yet. Vaccinated passengers could explore freely). This limited our excursion options, but we still had plenty to choose from.

We explored Sitka, went whale watching in Icy Strait Point, took a helicopter to the Mendenhall Glacier, and fished for salmon in Ketchikan. Each adventure felt like a living postcard, and we learned so much from our guides. We certainly accomplished our goals of new experiences and making the most of every moment of our trip. Normally, the husband and I are ready to get home at the end of a vacation, but we were genuinely sad that this trip had to end. We barely scratched surface, and are already planning on what we would like to experience next time.

Important note: who caught the biggest fish? (cough, cough…..ME!)

My neighbor and well-traveled adopted maternal figure, Mama P, told me this was the best vacation she ever took, and I now know why. From breath-taking views to rich culture and history, we soaked up pure enjoyment each and every day. I will say that this particular trip/cruise probably isn’t an ideal choice for younger children, despite the ship amenities (unless you want to put them in the kids’ program). Bean is a seasoned traveler, and is used to fishing, camping, and outdoor activities. She understands that every moment of a trip isn’t going to be Disneyworld/kid-centric, so she knows to go along with the get-along, as Granny would say. During our downtime, we still had plenty to do on the ship, like bingo, trivia, shows, and cards, so everyone remained entertained.

So, overall fantastic trip all around. Unfortunately, the airline cancelled our return flights, and we got stuck in Seattle, but that’s a post for another day.

Getting the Heathens to Eat Something Other Than Chicken—Kid (and Husband) Friendly Salmon Croquettes

Living in the land of picky eaters means that I have to tinker with recipes…a lot. In any given culinary experiment, I am usually forced to omit one, if not several ingredients because either the Heathens or my husband will not touch the dish otherwise. I’ve worked hard to get the kids eating proteins beyond chicken, chicken and more chicken. Oh, how I’ve worked, Progress is slow, but they’ve come a long way in the past year. They both embraced sausage, bacon and steak, but seafood is still hit and miss.

I recently stumbled on a new way to make Salmon Croquettes that helped further the cause. You really should try these. They are dang tasty.

Salmon Croquettes


Here's what you will need:
  • 1 can (14.7 oz) salmon (you'll need to take out the bones and junk)
  • 1 pkg. herb stuffing mix
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh dude)
Place the salmon in a bowl, after you've removed the bones and anything else that looks weird:
Add all the remaining ingredients:
Mix all the ingredients together with your hands until well combined. Sorry Charlie, but there is really no better way to mix it than with your hands. I'm not a fan of touching stinky fish either, but that's what good hand soap is for.
Once the ingredients are combined, form the mixture into 8 patties:
Cover the patties with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. If you don't, they will just fall apart when you cook them, and that sure isn't fun. Once the patties are chilled, heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Basically, you need enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Cook the patties about three minutes on each side:
Watch the patties carefully, because they burn easily if you don't; turn the heat down if they are in danger. Since the salmon is already cooked, you are only heating the patties through and browning the outside. Trust me, three minutes per side should be plenty.
Remove the patties from the skillet and drain on paper towels:
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The Heathens eat these with ketchup (*sigh*), but I bet a good Remoulade would be awesome too. My husband saves the extra patties (if there are any extras) and slaps them on a burger bun with cheese for lunch the next day.

An entrée for less than $5 that the kids actually eat? One that’s not chicken?

I call that score one for mom.