Western Washington Preschool Hikes: Franklin Falls

With the honeymoon phase of quiet, kid-free mornings due to our little guy (now 3 years-old) being an unusually late sleeper now officially over, we are looking at the bright side.

Yes, he used to sleep until 9, 9:30, even 10 (talk about being spoiled) o’clock in the morning, and still manage (and need) a 2-hour nap in the afternoon.  Now that he’s transitioned to a regular bed though, the late mornings are a distant memory.  Maybe it’s his new found freedom of being able to get out on his own.  Maybe it’s an age thing.  Maybe the change of space changed his mindset.  Regardless, we are adjusting.

As I was saying, the bright side is…more time for adventure! We can now mange a decent hike, a decent distance away from home, and still be able to return for nap time.

Franklin Falls near Snoqualmie Pass (about an hour’s drive from Seattle) is just on the verge of being too far for a morning excursion.  As long as we get into gear early enough and pack a lunch to enjoy en route, it’s possible to accomplish.

On this particular early October day, we found the trail (2 miles out and back) to be filled with mushrooms.  Vibrant colors and so many different varieties, thanks to the tiny fungi spotter, we probably stopped and viewed nearly every single specimen available that day.

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Get Ready to Fly: Children’s Books to Prepare Kids for Air Travel

The more we talk and prepare our 3-year old for outings, trips, and activities, the more successful these experiences tend to be for our family.  Yes, talking about what’s coming up can mean we are fielded with tons of questions, and the possibility of a little excitement and anticipation.  However, at least at this point it doesn’t seem to be getting in the way or hindering any of the potential fun.

I’ve written about preparing kids and building their background knowledge for specific locales with children’s books, and also think picture books come in handy for general topics–like airplanes!  Over the past few months, especially to get ready for our big flight to Oahu, I’ve compiled a handful of great stories and informational books to help guide little airplane passengers.  The goal is to set-up expectations for behavior as well as get to know the ins and outs of airplanes and airports: All in hopes that a smooth, (mostly) tear free, flight happens for all passengers involved!

Get Ready to Fly: Children's Books to Prepare Kids for Air Travel | WildTalesof.com

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Family Accommodations on Oahu’s North Shore: Haleiwa Getaway

“Where’s our town, Mom?

Where’s our vacation rental?”

Once Bergen (3-years old) started asking us this each time we journeyed “away from home” after just a day or so on Oahu, we knew we’d found the right spot for our recent Hawaiian travels.  Even though we took him on some pretty awesome adventures, from beaches to pineapple trains to historic landmarks and delicious meals, by the end of the afternoon or evening, he was always ready to return to our rental house.

Similar to our Kauai vacation rental set-up, we chose a home that was walking distance to the beach, but also close to town.  At the same time, we also wanted the surrounding area to be quiet enough to be able to relax and recharge.  Finally, let’s not forget that we’re flying all the way to Hawaii and staying for a week.  The price has to be reasonable. Were we happy with our choice of rental? Absolutely.

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Dawn Day in the Wildlife: Volunteers Make the Difference at the Marine Mammal Center

Dawn Day in the Wildlife: Volunteers Make the Difference at the Marine Mammal Center | WildTalesof.com

Photo Courtesy of Susan Goldman

I couldn’t tell my story without first being truly honest with you.  My volunteer experience at the Marine Mammal Center started off all wrong.  It began with disappointment.  Admittedly, selfish disappointment, that I now regret wasting emotional energy on.

As soon as our tour of the center (you can ready more about the facility in my 1st post) ended and we were transitioning to the volunteer-shadowing portion of our day, I was pulled aside (along with another pregnant blogger participant).  Word had spread of our situation and the center had concerns–legitimately so.

Because of the possibility of the animals (or the things they came in contact with) passing along unknown viruses to our vulnerable bodies, we were advised to stay away from the nitty-gritty, get-your-hands-dirty (or fishy) volunteer work. Continue reading

Book Review: The Truth About Nature

Book Review: The Truth about Nature |WildTalesof.com

Quiz Time!

True or False?

  1. A rooster only crows in the morning.
  2. A snail is a slug with a shell on its back.
  3. Birds explode if they eat rice.
  4. Frogs ribbit.
  5. Starfish and jellyfish are both types of fish.
  6. You can’t get sunburned on a cloudy day.
  7. Mice eat cheese.
  8. Playing in the cold makes you sick.

Ready with your answers?

Would you believe that to an extent all of these statements are actually false?

Hoping information will equip families to get outside and explore the natural world, authors Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer are sharing their extensive knowledge of the environment in the Truth about Nature: A Family’s Guide to 144 Common Myths about the Great Outdoors.  Instead of letting misconceptions scare us, and keep us indoors, they’re thinking the facts will peak curiosity and inspire us to do a little experimenting of our own.

Of the 144 myths featured in the book, the above 8 were the ones that were the most interesting, thought provoking, and relevant to our family.  I really did think that snails and slugs were the same, and completely expected a slug to just hop aboard a shell when moved to do so! I also believed what everyone has said these last 15 years or so about throwing rice at weddings.  It turns out that the birds will not only be just fine if they ingest rice, but more importantly, they are not even really interested in eating rice!

While our son Bergen (3 years old) isn’t quite able to enjoy the book right alongside us (he does adore the artwork), we are more than appreciative of its contents.  A peak into our conversations these days…

  • Parent explains a situation…answers a question…or just simply states a fact. 
  • Bergen’s response time and time again to the point where it’s actually expected: WHY?

Stacy and Ken are really helping us out.  Thanks to all that they’ve crammed in this book, my husband and I are keeping a few steps ahead of Bergen.  At least when it comes to some of our outdoor adventures, we will be able to provide a few insights here and there, and I honestly feel more prepared, excited, and motivated to get outside.

So many of the myths uncovered in the book are just asking to be tested out! A few of the fall myths we’ll be investigating: All oak trees have acorns, All trees lose their leaves, and All rocks sink in water.

Book Review: The Truth about Nature |WildTalesof.com

In addition to debunking myths, which are organized by season and rated on a scale from 1 to 3, the book also includes four additional features throughout:

  • Stranger than Fiction (hard to believe tidbits that are actually true)
  • Luck Legends (fun superstitions from the natural world that are not actually true)
  • Weather Legends (quirky and fun, but not actually accurate ways in which people predict and explain the weather)
  • Be a Scientist (experiments to investigate and explore more)

Info to Know

  • Purchase the book online through all major booksellers or your favorite local bookstore!
  • Cost: $18.95

School Visit Contest!

To celebrate the release of the book, the authors are running a contest! Create a video or share a photo that tackles a commonly misconceived nature myth. You can choose one of the myths from the book or come up with one of your own. The lucky winner will receive an author visit (from Stacy and Ken) to their school! For more information visit the Falcon Guides website.  Deadline to enter is November 23, 2014.

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of The Truth about Nature book for purposes of review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Come join the conversation! We’d love to have you join us on all of our adventures by “liking” our facebook page and following us on twitter! You can also keep up to date with each and every post by subscribing to the blog via email.





Sun Safe on Oahu’s Beaches +Block Island Sunscreen Giveaway

Doesn’t feel so seasonal to be writing about sun protection as fall (in the northern hemisphere) has started, the clouds are beginning to roll in, and the daylight hours are getting shorter and shorter.  Especially here in the Pacific Northwest, I have to admit, I start to get a little less anxious (okay, A LOT less anxious) about the possibility of the sun burning my family in the fall and winter months.


I apply a sunscreen each morning via my daily moisturizer.   No matter the season or weather forecast.  Admittedly, my skin is the fairest of fair, freckled, and just asking to be burned.  I get sunburned just thinking about the sun.  Not really, but I have been burned indoors.  You just never know.  It’s important to take a few sun safety steps no matter the season.

The other reason to be thinking about sun safety and protection this time of year? Travel.

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Stranded on Oahu: Lessons Learned from a Missed Flight

Stranded on Oahu: Lessons Learned from a Missed Flight | WildTalesof.com

With our careful planning and attention to detail, we never seem to think we might have a flight cancelled on us, or that we might actually miss a flight.  However, the truth is, it’s inevitable and we can’t predict and control all of our circumstances.

On our most recent travel day back home from Oahu (after an amazing week spent mostly on the North Shore), we left ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport, return our rental car, check-in for our flight, and get on our way to Seattle. Continue reading