I recently posted about the Pure Carrier from Onya Baby, and I’m thrilled to share that in partnership with Onya Baby, one lucky reader will WIN a carrier of their own! As I mentioned in my review, we are so impressed with the Pure carrier, and in just a short couple of months have taken it on countless adventures. Of course, I’ve carried Georgia in the Pure on hikes, but we’ve also explored gardens, visited the state fair, gone grocery shopping, and attended sporting events.
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” Rachel Carson
Challenge and Toddlers. Like most young tots, our daughter Georgia asserts her opinion and pushes the boundaries. Of course packed in with all that frustrating behavior are moments of pure joy, great accomplishment, and immense pride. However, when we’re in the thick of it, it can be hard to remember that, “this too shall pass”.
Especially in the last couple of months, I’ve lovingly and intentionally tried to challenge Georgia right back. Not by throwing tantrums, whining or making demands, though sometimes I feel like doing that, but by posing small achievable goals. As we adventure about, making sure I’ve built in ways to set-up success, I push her to be more independent, brave, and engaged in our environment.
Presently, Georgia has just two speeds on the hiking trail:
- Run. Usually with abandon and no regard to instructions.
- Whine, lollygag, and ask to be picked up.
Unfortunately, I never know which speed she’ll choose from day to day! For example, on one of our recent hikes, she took off at the trail head, and her big brother and I had to corral her back in the right direction. Just a couple of days after that incident, as soon as her feet hit the trail at the start of our forest outing, she was upset and refused to move.
Along with patience, frequent practice, and incentives, one of the things that’s helping us on our adventures is a soft-structured carrier, specifically the Pure carrier from Onya Baby.
The Outdoor Mom Academy experts, made up of Amelia from Tales of a Mountain Mama, Rebecca from Hike Like a Woman, and Susan from Mountain Mom and Tots are back at it! These inspiring ladies are offering their 6-week course for a second time this fall.
If you weren’t able to join the course when it was offered the first time earlier this summer, this is your chance to get in on all the action, and take advantage of this amazing learning opportunity! I provide a lot the details of the course (though it’s been revamped and updated a bit) in my first Outdoor Mom Academy announcement, but here is the course outline in a nutshell.
Would you believe me if I told you that I once got a sunburn indoors? I wish sun protective clothing like Little Leaves shirts and pants were available during my lifeguarding days! Yes, back in college when I was working at the indoor pool during summer break, I had the sliding door behind my lifeguard stand slightly cracked, and that small amount of sun light streaming in burned my arm.
Needless to say, my skin is extremely sensitive to the sun, so protection of vital importance for me and my family. When I was young, before rash guards and swim shirts were a common thing, much to my dismay, I always had to sport a t-shirt over my swim suit at the beach and pool. So heavy and uncomfortable! I had to don streaks of zinc oxide under my eyes to shield that vulnerable area from sunburn.
Technology has come a long way with waterproof sunscreen now available, and more advanced ways of protecting our skin. Little Leaves Sun Protective Clothing is leading the way in developing apparel that helps to prevent the damaging effects of the sun, such as skin cancer and premature aging. Knowing that kids and adults need protection from beyond just water activities, Drs. Carlos and Carley Gomez-Meade created shirts, pants, and hats that have natural UPF protection from the sun.
When we returned from our week stay on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, aside from falling in love with this beautiful island, we learned one valuable lesson for beach travel. That lesson? Don’t over pack!
St. John, along with the rest of the Caribbean is laid back. And especially since we were staying at house with a washer and dryer, there was no need to pack outfits for everyday. When you have amazing (and world renowned) beaches to visit every day, the basics are all that’s necessary.
After traveling to Maui as a family of 4, we shared our beach vacation packing list for families. That packing list will get you started, but the Caribbean as we learned is a whole different animal. That being said, we wanted to highlight some essentials. We found the items on the following list to be extremely helpful in keeping us comfortable and protected from the elements (mostly sun, bugs, & humidity) while on the island.
Looking for a Seattle area hiking guide to lead you through the outdoors this summer (and beyond)? I’m excited to share a brand new book from Moon Travel Guides called 75 Great Hikes Seattle. Full disclosure: The book is written by my cousin, avid hiker and Kirkland, Washington resident, Melissa Ozbek. I also contributed a short piece on hiking with kids including tips and ideas for heading out on the trail with young kids.
In the following video, I give a quick overview of the hiking guide, and also share what I love most about the book. Continue reading for a chance to win your own copy. I’m giving away two autographed copies of 75 Great Hikes Seattle, so be sure to enter!
It’s finally sandal season here in Seattle, and we are celebrating! Our travels to the Caribbean this spring allowed us to get a jump start in testing the fun kids sandals from M.A.P. shoes, so I’m looking forward to sharing our thoughts. We also hope it might help you make your decisions as you prepare for an adventurous summer season!
You may have read our review of the M.A.P. Footwear sneakers last fall. We also appreciated their cozy boots to keep Georgia’s toes warm this past winter. We are big fans of the brand! In addition to trying out the Emmons Fisherman Sandals (for Bergen) and the Niagara T Fisherman Sandals (for Georgia) during our vacation on St. John, we’ve also put them to the test this spring. Activities have included biking, hiking, scootering, beach play, and of course just typical day to day life of errand running and family hustle and bustle.
Did you know that May is National Bike Month? We couldn’t think of a better time of year to get back into bicycling regularly. We recently partnered with a new kids bike company called Prevelo Bikes. The owner, Jacob is passionate about getting kids on two wheels and the freedom, confidence, and FUN that comes with this healthy activity. I love how he summarized watching his two sons riding their bikes:
Like watching a sunrise in the high Sierras while eating a fish taco with fresh guacamole and getting a foot massage awesome.
As a mom of two, I’ve been learning about the benefits of wool for children for a couple of years now. Merino wool is a particularly good choice for kids because it does not tend to have the uncomfortable itchy feeling that can come with other types of wool. Specifically, we love the merino wool clothing from Chasing Windmills, and the cozy wool pants from Ella’s Wool.
Unfortunately for me though, other than wool socks, I hadn’t added much wool into my own outdoor gear. When I was contacted by Ibex Outdoor Clothing to try out some pieces from their 2017 Spring Line, I was intrigued.
Do you want to boost your confidence as an outdoor mom?
As an ambassador for the class, I want to make sure all you amazing mama readers knew about the OUTDOOR MOM ACADEMY’s first online course! It’s a 6-week course designed to teach moms (and really any caregiver of kids) strategies for easy, fun, and safe outdoor adventures! Want to join me?
I’m taking the class to refine my skills, learn from other inspiring outdoor moms, and to get some practical advice on the most important aspects of adventuring in the outdoors with kids. I’m particularly excited about the camping lesson, as our family is looking to make our camping trips easier and more organized. As my children grow, and we take on “more adventurous” activities, I also think the risk management lesson will be especially relevant.
The course is being taught by 3 amazing outdoor family bloggers:
- Rebecca Walsh from Hike Like a Woman
- Amelia Mayer from Tales of a Mountain Mama
- Susan Strayer from Mountain Mom and Tots
Even more than coating ourselves with bug spray, on our recent trip to St. John, it was so important for us to slather on sunscreen from sun up to sun down. The Caribbean sun is powerful, and our pale Seattle skin was definitely not used to the constant sunshine. While on the island, we had the chance to try out the Babytime! Sunny Sunscreen. We were provided with a sample bottle in exchange for our honest thoughts and review.
With winter recently coming to a close, you might not be interested in cold weather gear. However, if you live in a region still experiencing chilly temperatures or want to plan ahead for next fall and winter, you’ll want to consider Stonz Wear.
Stonz Wear is a children’s outerwear brand featuring cold (wet and snowy) weather accessories. They specialize in boots and mittens, and we particularly love the story of their origin. Try as she might, Stonz’ founder Lisa Will, could not keep her young son’s feet warm. She wanted to shoe or boot that would protect those tiny feet from the cold AND stay on, so she got to work designing and creating her own.
We still have another month of so left until spring begins, so instead of retreating indoors waiting for better weather, we are embracing it. We’ve actually had some snow days here in Seattle, which is pretty rare for us, allowing us to pile on our cold weather gear and head outside to play.
In addition to enjoying the cold and snowy weather “in our own backyard”, we also recently headed to Mount Rainier National Park for a snowshoe and sledding adventure. A lot goes into planning and packing for a trip like this, so I thought I’d share our Cold Weather Packing List geared toward families with babies and young children. Georgia, our 2-year old, is particularly sensitive to cold temperatures, so we have to be extremely careful and intentional when dressing her to head outside.
I’ve saved the best for last with this year’s gift guides! Today I’m sharing 8 gift ideas for the travel and outdoor loving mom in your life! In this gift guide for moms, you’ll find ideas to make travel and getting outdoors easier, items that will inspire, and items that will help mom plan an amazing year of adventure. Many can be purchased last minute, so if you are just getting around to buying gifts, you’re in luck!
Gifts for the Travel and Outdoor Loving Mom
Dads can be so hard to shop for because they often already have everything they need! Nonetheless, I have 7 unique ideas for the travel and outdoor loving father in your life! These gift are meant to inspire, make outdoor and travel a little easier and more comfortable, and add a some fun into his adventures with the kids.
Gift Guide for the Travel and Outdoor Loving Dad
Season’s Greetings! It’s that time of year again. As much as I love giving, I can get bogged down with all the possibilities. In case you might be feeling the same way and want some ideas for things that kids will actually need, use, and play with, I have over 20 gift ideas for the young adventurer in your life!
Here you’ll find gifts to help kids get outside (gear), gifts to inspire a life of travel and adventure (books), and gifts to light up your child’s playful spirit (toys and games).
Georgia and I have been busy testing the Deuter Kid Comfort 3 Carrier this past summer and into fall. We’ve loved the opportunity to add some experience with another hiking style carrier to our repertoire. This review is intended to help more families make informed decisions about the product they ultimately decide to purchase. If possible, we always advise to visit an outdoor store, such as REI, to try on the carriers yourself. When you see them in person, you are better able to see each carrier’s features. You can also feel the pack on your very own shoulders, back, and hips. However, hopefully our review will give you some things to think about as you compare and make your decision.
Aloha from Maui! We are so thankful to be be back in Hawaii. Maui happens to be the first Hawaiian Island that I have visited–in 2008, Slaed and I got engaged here! We started our journey of becoming a family on the shores of West Maui, so it only seems fitting to bring our kids to share our love of this island with them.
Yes, the vacation style is a bit different, but we’ve already had a lot of fun reminiscing and pointing out special spots to Bergen and Georgia. In a small way, Bergen actually understands what we’re talking about, so that’s been neat to see.
Since we’re here, and beach vacations are so popular with families, I thought I’d share our packing list. On the list you’ll find all (most?) of the items we bring to prepare us for a beach vacation with babies and young children. We don’t bring the entire kitchen sink, but I must admit that we bring a lot! Some items, of course would depend on the type of lodging you choose, and whether or not your property owners have some of the things you need on hand, and weather is always a factor to consider…and consider again!
While our kids are active and spend a lot of time outdoors, they are not always on the hiking trail climbing mountains. Consequently, a hiking shoe is overkill for our everyday adventures, but some sneakers aren’t quite rugged enough for our rough and tough kids.
Thanks to M.A.P footwear though, we’ve found a great in between shoe! Bergen has been testing the Troy sneakers from M.A.P. (Motion. Adventure. Play.) Footwear this past summer and early fall. Overall we are pleased with the fit, support, and durability of the shoes.
To give you an idea of our testing process, here are a few details:
- Testing Time: 3 months
- Testing Conditions: long urban walks on sidewalks, long bike rides, forest school, flat well worn hiking trails, parks and playgrounds
- Other Notes: most of the testing has taken place in warmer weather, often worn without socks
Bergen and I have been busy on the hiking trails this summer! Not only are we exploring, discovering, and enjoying the great outdoors (per usual), but we’ve also been testing hiking shoes and boots from Hi-Tec. Hi-Tec Sports is a hiking and walking shoe and boot company out of Modesto, California. I’m starting with a review of the women’s V-Lite Altitude Pro Lite hiking boots, but stay tuned for a follow-up review of Bergen’s Aitana Low waterproof hiking shoes (also mentioned in our kid’s summer hiking guide).
We’ll soon be headed on our first tent camping adventure as a family of four! While Georgia has had two cabin camping experiences, she’s yet to see what it’s like to be without the comfort of four solid walls. As we prepare, I’m realizing that camping takes a little more planning ahead than our typical travel. Maybe that’s just because of the freqency. I’m sure we’d turn into a well oiled organized machine if we went more often, but I’m definitely finding that lists provide a lot of guidance and help for us.
One of the many reasons I love hiking as an outdoor activity is because of it’s simplicity. If you can put one foot in front of the other, relatively speaking, you can hike! Passing along this love to our kids has come naturally, and it seems to work particularly well because there really isn’t a lot of stuff involved. We can figure out where we want to go, toss a few things into a daypack, and we’re set for a fun adventure in nature.
Each season brings it’s own unique characteristics, and thus changes what we might need to brave the elements, though summer is probably the simplest of all. And since there are still plenty of summer days left this year, here’s our round-up of some of the best, and most useful items for kids to explore the outdoors on these hot, sunny days.
Lately instead of bringing the entire “kitchen sink” on our travels to ensure that we leave nothing essential behind, I’ve worked to make our packing simpler, more strategic, and more intentional. It not only keeps us organized at our destination, but it also makes unpacking (the part that we all dread) so much easier! I plan outfits and pack them folded together, use packing lists and only bring what we need (the more we travel, the better I get at this), and I think of items that can pull double duty or serve more than one purpose.
This winter, we learned about the benefits of merino wool, thanks to Ella’s Wool leggings/tubes keeping Bergen and Georgia warm on our outdoor adventures. However, I hadn’t yet realized the advantages of wearing the fabric in the spring and summer.
Now that our youngest is slowly but surely heading out of the baby stage, and into toddlerdom, I thought it would be appropriate to share our picks for the best baby travel gear. We’ve thought through our routines and travel practices, and chosen the items that make travel with a baby easier, more manageable, and just generally possible!
Just as in “regular” life, travels styles are personal, so I won’t be going on and on sharing every little thing we pack for travel with a baby. Instead, I’ve chosen some of the essentials or “biggies” to think about when considering a trek with your tiny companion.
As active as our family is, I must admit that it came to a surprise, and of course was concerning, that our little girl was not reaching gross motor milestones (sitting up, crawling, standing) at the same rate as her average peers. We were especially worried when at her 18-month check up with the pediatrician, we had to report that she wasn’t yet walking.
“You must be carrying her too much” was what many bystanders would reason. Since she is our second child, some thought we held her more, and thus impeded her development We were moving at Bergen’s (now 4.5 years) pace rather than allowing Georgia the chance to move on her own.