Poolside Road Kill… & What I Love About Swimming Lessons

I’ve “made” my kids take swimming lessons every summer for years now.  I’m not sure why that’s the Mom’s Job, but apparently it is.  Since my 12 year old daughter has pretty much mastered the four main swim strokes, I finally let her off the hook this year.  But my 6 year old son still has some learning to do.  He actually requested to take them his year, so that was a pleasant surprise?! Since I work full time days, my husband has been a good sport about taking J to his lessons every day at noon.  I sneak out for a lunch break, and get to go watch him.  It’s been nearly 100 degrees for weeks now, but it’s a worthwhile show to watch. We are just entering Week 2.  Here are my favorite things I love about watching a 6 year old’s swimming lessons. Second Time’s the Charm My son hesitated at his very first diving board attempt. His instructor was waiting patiently in the water, with a floating device.  My son approached the end of the board, where he paused for quite some time … [Read more...]

Trek Bike’s ABC’s of Bike Safety

Summer biking season is in full sway!  One of our absolute favorite things to do is hit the trails for a family mountain biking adventure.  But logistically, we most often find ourselves riding the streets in town. Did you know that 600+ cyclists a year are killed by cars, and 80% of the accidents happen during the day? Riders overestimate their visibility by 700%!  So how do you stay safe, and make sure you don't have any issues with cars spotting you?  June is Safety Month, and is an ideal time to asses your family's bike safety tactics. Alarmed by these statistics, Trek embarked on a mission to cut cycling deaths by 50% by the year 2020. As a first step, Trek partnered with Clemson University on a visibility study, and from the study’s findings created the ABC’s of Bike Safety.  Below are their valuable tips, which map out the must-dos to remain safe on the road. Trek’s ABC’s of Bike Safety Always On: At the very least, riders should install front and rear-facing daytime … [Read more...]

Best Hiking Baby Carrier Backpack for Petite Moms

Hiking with a kid carrier can be one of the most enjoyable phases of outdoor time with your child.  Now that my youngest is 6, my family is past this stage.  Although at the time, I occasionally pitied myself for being loaded down likka pack mule... now I truly miss these days. The days of hiking a nice long trail, without needing to turn back after .5 miles for a tired child who can't keep up. The days of knowing you are transferring a love of the outdoors to your child at a precious age.  Even as your baby dozes off for a nap in the fresh air, to the lull of mom's cadence on the trail. There are so many fantastic benefits to hiking with your child in a backpack carrier!  It's truly one of the best pieces of gear we owned for our babies/toddlers. But wait... what if your pack doesn't fit, causing you back pain and greatly hindering your enjoying of the experience?  No bueno. Calling on the [Petite!] Hiking Pros Although I've written about MY experience and tips for … [Read more...]

16 Essential Items for Your Day Hiking Gear List

Prime hiking season has arrived!  Not yet in the overnight backpacker game, my husband and I typically only tackle day hiking with kids.  It’s one of our favorite pastimes, and the best part is… it’s free!  There are definitely a few items that I’ve learned to always bring along when hiking in the mountains. This month I was participating in a sponsored campaign for BODYARMOR LYTE, and my husband and I both have really been enjoying this sports drink after hiking.  It got me thinking about my core go-to hiking list.  Those baseline things I always take in my backpack, no matter what. Day Hiking Gear List – 16 Essential Items As a result of this outdoorsy soul searching, I’ve gathered together my day hiking gear list.  I literally store these items in my backpack at all times, so they are ready to go whenever we want to take a hike.  That way I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything I may need. The beauty is most of these items are small, light weight, and don't cost … [Read more...]

5 Perfect Spring Day Ideas to Get Kids Outside

The biting cold starts to leave the air, and the feeling of warm sun on your face almost leaves you giddy.  If you live anywhere with distinct seasons, the arrival of Spring weather is an exciting change.  My family and I always feel inspired to open those windows… and even better, get outside and play! Winter sports may be winding to a close, but there is so much fun to be had in Spring.  You don't need expensive or technical gear in order to do so.  If you need some motivation or inspiration, here are 5 free ideas to get kids outside this Spring.  Plus, some information on the upcoming fun and exciting Kids to Parks™ Day! #5 - Color Scavenger Hunt There are so many fabulous ideas on Pinterest for kids nature hunts!  Here are two of my absolute favorites. Color Scavenger Hunt – I really love this one for its beauty and simplicity.  No time for printables?  Grab a piece of paper and markers to make a quick chart for your kids.  Then send them out to look for what nature has … [Read more...]

Goodbye Camper… Sold to an Ex-Con

About three years ago, we bought our first camper.  A 1979 Winnebago bumper pull, the only year Winnebago made a trailer style camper.  Built extremely stout.  After a little cosmetic TLC inside, it was a delightful starter camper.  We’ve made some awesome memories with it. Overall, it was just exciting and fun to own a camper… and we were grateful to have found such a cheap one.  But alas, it suffered two critical problems. Waaaay too heavy to be pulled by our Tahoe. The sleeping arrangements left much to be desired. Every time we pulled that sucker up to our local Grand Mesa, with an elevation of 10,800 feet, my husband would look at me and just shake his head.  “We’ve GOT to stop pulling this heavy camper with the Tahoe.” And every time he’d wake up cranky the next morning after a restless night spent trying to fit his 6 foot frame on one of the two restrictive sleeping spots, “I’m NOT going to sleep another night in that camper.” Osh no!  But I love … [Read more...]

Start Kids Early at Summer Adventure Camp

Living in Colorado brings with it the privilege of easy access to a gorgeous outdoor playground.  It’s a large part of why my family lives here, yet it still takes an ongoing effort to get out there and enjoy it.  Even though we love the outdoors, we get busy with everyday life. Then there’s those darn screens, always ready-at-the-helm to suck time.  So I’m constantly looking for opportunities to fit outdoor play into my kids schedule.  Avid4 Adventure summer camps is bringing in the reinforcements, and has got you and your kids covered this summer. "Sending our daughter to Avid4 Adventure camp was one of the single best decisions we’ve ever made as parents. We learned much about her as a person and she felt awesome about herself and her experiences."                                                                                       ~ Avid4 Adventure parent Avid4 Adventure Summer Adventure Camps I absolutely love the Avid4 Adventure’s concept of summer adventure camps. … [Read more...]

To Ski, Or Not to Ski… That is My Dilemma

I grew up in the relatively flat state of South Dakota.  Land of long winters and below-freezing wind chills which whipped across the prairie.  My parents were both raised on ranches.  In short, they were not skiers, nor was teaching kids to ski anywhere on their radar. South Dakota is not totally devoid of a ski area, though.  So it was at age 16 that I made my first pilgrimage with fellow teens, to go learn to ski at Terry Peak in the Black Hills.  What did I think of skiing? Skiing First Impressions Cold. Icy. Terrifying. Cute boys. Short runs. Long chairlift rides. That’s about it, in a nutshell.  I tolerated it for the social aspect. But it was nothing I had a burning desire to pursue. I’ve since had the chance to ski bigger mountains than South Dakota offers, and enjoyed some good times on the slopes.  There have admittedly been brief, optimal moments when I felt a rush of excitement and glee over a great run.  Overall, I have comfortably settled in at:  … [Read more...]

My First Kayak Adventure Ever… in Sagres Portugal!

Death by rollover.  Trapped upside down in my kayak, whoosing past head-smashing rocks, unable to release my lower body from its underwater tomb.  Yep, it’s one of my worst nightmares.  Can you blame me? Hence my hesitancy whenever I’ve had the opportunity to go kayaking. And I almost passed up the opportunity yet again, on a recent media trip to Portugal.  We had a local guide from the fishing village of Sagres Portugal who was planning on taking our small group of three out for a kayak adventure.  Realizing I was there to report in the capacity of “OUTDOORSY” TravelingMom… I figured I better suck it up, Buttercup! And join them. Lesson learned:  Never pass up a chance to kayak with a guide! My First Time Kayaking – Walk in the Park Turns out the only danger that day was if I had actually tipped over, my iPhone would have been trashed.  Other than that, it was so completely safe that they even take out children if the sea is calm. “The Sea.”  That’s what they … [Read more...]

Family Mountain Biking Adventure Puts Sharpie Extreme to Test

About a decade ago, my husband and I moved our young family to Colorado.  We both loved the outdoors, and wanted our kids to grow up with an enjoyment and appreciation of camping, hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. At last we've arrived at the stage in our children's lives where we can all hit a mountain biking trail, each riding our own bike.  Having stuck primarily to hiking for these past few years... this is an exciting development!  It was a rocky start the first few times out, but I've picked up a few family mountain biking tips along the way. So we were excited when Sharpie Extreme approached us, offering to send us on a family outdoor adventure.  The Sharpie Extreme line of permanent markers is particularly well suited to marking your outdoor gear, so they wanted us to put them to the test while mountain biking. Mission accepted! Getting the Family Ready for Outdoor Adventure Getting your family outdoors for an adventure can feel extreme.  Depending on the … [Read more...]