When a 7th Grade Hiking Field Trip Goes Awry

Last Friday was the perfect Colorado Fall day.  Sunny and high 60’s, absolutely ideal hiking weather.  My daughter’s 7th grade class was scheduled to do a class hike field trip.  I had the day off of work, and planned to join them.  Everything was right in the world. That is, until the bodies started hitting the floor. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Wait, Can We Bring Dog…?! So Friday morning we are scurrying around, packing lunches and getting ready for school.  I swear our Golden Retreiver Daisy must have spotted my daughter grabbing her hiking backpack.  You know those key items, that set the alarm bells off for a dog...”An adventure is afoot!!” Bless her 10 year old heart… she starts bouncing around like an excited puppy. “Oh Daisy, you can’t come on the field trip.”  Wait. Maybe she can? Since I planned on driving behind the school buses, and hiking with the kids – in theory, maybe we could bring the dog? Our plan was to have my daughter ask permission once … [Read more...]

Take Me Fishing… at Walt Disney World!

My family recently enjoyed a Take Me Fishing excursion at Walt Disney World! Here's everything you need to know - what do you need to bring, and where do the boats depart? Is it worth sacrificing valuable Park time on your Disney vacation? How does fishing help the outdoors, and why is this such a great family activity? Although my family has had a few vacations at Walt Disney World, on our recent trip we had an adventure like nothing we’ve ever experienced.  Disney World fishing and boating - now that's my kind of adventure! It was a moment in which all my greatest loves blissfully collided: Disney… the outdoors… adventure… my family... boating... sunshine!  It makes me giddy just thinking about it. I had heard that you could take guided bass fishing excursions right on the Disney World property.  And honestly, my first reaction was “I don’t think I’d want to sacrifice park time for that”. Well, I WAS WRONG. I'm now convinced a bass fishing excursion is an ideal addition … [Read more...]

4th Graders Get FREE National Parks Passes!

Did you know that with the start of the new school year, all fourth graders and their families can claim their free Every Kid in a Park pass?  This pass allows FREE entry into all federal parks, forests, and recreation areas for one full year.  What a fabulous opportunity! Every Kid in a Park Pass ~ Where to Get Yours Starting Sept. 1, fourth graders can print out a paper voucher for free entry into all federal lands by visiting the Every Kid in a Park website at www.everykidinapark.gov. Students and their families can also redeem their paper voucher for a plastic pass at any Forest Service office. For office locations, visit www.fs.usda.gov/r6/. The voucher and passes are valid for the entire school year, Sept. 1, 2017-Aug. 31, 2018. Every Kid in a Park Pass ~ Who Can Use Them? Teachers or adults who engage fourth-graders through a youth-serving organization can print paper passes, and find activities and lesson plans, … [Read more...]

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...]