Our Top 12 Outdoor Moments of 2012

As 2012 is winding down, I feel a little sad that my family and I have not been able to spend as much time outdoors as we normally do.  With three rounds of family strep (yes, 3!!) and other medical issues, getting outdoors has been hard for us over the last couple of months.  So I’m really looking forward to getting back in the groove of outdoor livin’ in 2013.  To cheer myself up a bit, I decided to take a look back and reminisce on our favorite outdoor moments of 2012.

12. New Year tree huggin’ on Fiery Gizzard Trail (our fave trail), January 2012

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11. Autism and the healing power of nature, February 2012

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10. Nature day with mama, March 2012

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9. First canoe trip of 2012, April 2012

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8. Nature for all, May 2012

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7. Mother’s Day Caving, May 2012

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6. The Great Sand Dunes, June 2012

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5. Mini Muddy Buddy Run, July 2012

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4. Alone in the wilderness, August 2012

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3. Adventure and the special needs child, June 2012

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2. Alpine Views in Colorado, June 2012

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1. Water fun and Little Man’s 1st Kayak, July 2012

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo what was your favorite moment of 2012? Any adventures you want to share before the new year falls upon us?!

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Ring in the New Year by Helping Others {through the World Food Programme}

Have you ever thought about what you would do if an emergency struck?  I often think about  it now that I am a mother. Protecting my family is my number one priority and it’s hard to imagine what would happen if tragedy really did strike. Even though a lot of us try and prepare, it’s not something anyone can ever be totally ready for, in my opinion.

Imagine, however, that you live in a place where it’s already a struggle to survive.  Areas that are war-torn or in conflict, developing nations where food is scarce and unending droughts make feeding your family nearly impossible. It is truly hard to imagine.

So for my final social good post of the year, I’m going to tell you about the World Food Programme and how they help feed families who have lost everything in midst of an emergency:

Help end child hunger
Drought, hurricanes and armed conflict. These three emergencies have one thing in common – hunger.

When emergencies hit, families depend on World Food Programme (WFP) for life-saving food. To ensure we’re there when we’re needed, we rely on you.

This holiday season, your donation can provide life-saving food for refugees fleeing conflict in Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, families facing the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in Haiti, and mothers struggling to feed their kids due to drought in Somalia.

Here’s how you can help a family devastated by a recent emergency:

• $35 provides nutritious food for 2 weeks

• $75 provides food for 1 month

• $150 provides food for the next 2 months

If you are looking for a way to pay forward all the blessings you’ve received over the past year, this is a great place to start!

Simply go here to donate.

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globalteamI wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

One Blessed Nest

Our Christmas was truly blessed this year.

There were presents…

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Fun with family…

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And even one huge surprise…

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Looking forward to the new year! I have a feeling it’s going to be a magnificent one.

Happy New Year Everyone!  Wishing you lots of love and blessings in the coming year.

Maternity Worldwide and Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Still trying to think of a last minute gift for that person on your list who has everything?  Instead of hitting the crowded mall, why not save a life instead?  You can with a just a click of your mouse and it’s certainly not too late.

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Did you know that 800 mothers die each day while giving birth?  800.  Think about that number.  800 hopeful, nervous women who long to hold their precious gifts will not live to do so.

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Maternity Worldwide wants to change this staggering statistic.  And you can help them do it this year by simply purchasing a  ‘Save a Life This Christmas’, their alternative Christmas gift of a Safe Birth Certificate for $24 and $81 for an emergency delivery for a mother in sub Saharan Africa

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The Statistics:

Having a baby should be a time of great joy and hope. But every year across the world 287,000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth. That’s one mother dying every 2 minutes, 800 each day. Another 7-10 million women and girls suffer severe or long lasting illnesses caused by complications in pregnancy and childbirth. These women do not need to suffer and die; most lives could be saved relatively easily and cheaply.

  • 162,000 deaths in childbirth occur in sub Saharan Africa, that’s 56% of the total.
  • Women and girls living in poor countries face a much greater risk of dying in pregnancy and childbirth then those living in wealthy countries. 99% of deaths take place in developing countries.
  • The maternal mortality ratio (that is the number of women dying per 100,000 live births) is 240 in developing countries compared with 16 in developed countries.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa the maternal mortality ratio is 500 per 100,000 live births.
  • A woman’s lifetime risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 150 in developing countries compared to 1 in 3800 in developed countries.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa the lifetime risk of dying in childbirth risk rises to 1 in 39. This compares with a risk of just 1 in 4600 for mothers living in the UK.
  • Poorer women, particularly those living in rural areas with poor access to health services are far more likely to die in childbirth than those who are wealthier or who live in urban areas.

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But there is hope.  In fact, there’s a solution that you can be a part of today.

By ordering a Safe Birth Certificate you will enable a mother in a developing country to safely give birth to her baby.  Long after the bubble bath has been used and the Christmas hampers have been eaten you will have given a lasting gift which will save a mother’s life and enable her baby to grow up with their mum.

A Safe Birth Certificate can be personalised with your own message and either sent directly to the recipient or to you to give to them. Order one here today: http://www.maternityworldwide.org/news/save-a-life-this-christmas

(Maternity Worldwide’s website is British so the amounts are in pounds. When you give, it will automatically change to dollars upon checkout.)

So what are you waiting for? Give the best gift under the tree–a chance to save a life.

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globalteamI wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

2012

2012 was so good to us. I’m very grateful today that there is a fresh, new year looming on the horizon and that we get to spend it together.

2012collageI don’t know what this new year will bring.  I’m sure there will be trials and difficulties as well as joys and triumphs.  Whatever is in store, I’m just so glad we will be able to face it together.

Blessings to you all on this December day. I hope that your new year will be merry and bright as well.

The Good

“…Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
-Max Ehrmann
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Even though it is hard to remember in times like this, there is STILL good in the world. Strive to be the good, spread the good and do the good. Only by doing this will we ever be able to drown out the evil. Be extra kind to each person you meet in the coming days. We’re all in this together.
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Love and light to the babies and families involved in the Connecticut shooting.  My heart is broken and I hold my own babies tonight with tears in my eyes.

Merry Christmas Never Sounded So Sweet

This will be Big Brother’s 2nd Christmas. And even though he is almost 6 years old, this is the first time he has been able to actually sing a Christmas song. Nothing sweeter to my ears than this precious child who we were told would never talk! #miracleshappen

I dare you to watch and not smile…

Gifts for the Girly Trailblazer

Congratulations to commenter number 4, Mel, who is the winner of the $25 REI gift card!!  Thanks everyone for playing along. Happy Holidays!

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There are few places I’d rather be than in the woods on a quiet, muddy trail. Whether I’m hiking or taking a run, it’s the one place where I can clear my mind while feeding my body and soul. So if you are like me (or you’ve got a girl like me in your life) this post is for you. I thought I’d share some of my favorite trail gear with all of you lovely readers.  With the holiday season upon us, maybe you’ll be inspired with some gift ideas for the outdoorsy girl in your life.

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1. At the top we have the quick dry  Toaster Top and Liberty Pants from Stonewear Designs. Warning: these pieces of clothing are so awesome, functional and comfortable you will never want to take them off!  Stonewear Designs is a Colorado-based company comprised of a group of determined women who lead busy lives balancing time between family, friends, work, and play. They developed clothes that make women feel beautiful while performing under strenuous demands. They strive to fit and flatter every type of body with beautiful, durable clothing that will last for years. All Stonewear clothing is Made in the U.S.A.

2. Gypsum Mid Hiking Boots by KEEN.  The only brand of boots I wear on the trail! For years, KEEN has been keeping my feet happy and safe on the trail. ‘Nuff said.

3. SpeedCross 3 Trail Running shoes by Salomon.  I am in love with these awesome, lightweight but aggressive trail shoes that are perfect for muddy, mountainous terrain. I use these all the time and they are by far my faves!

4. I don’t own one of these battery-operated mobile power devices yet, but I really want to try one! They seem like a perfect gadget to have handy on a long hike or backpacking trip.  Especially if you are like me and snap photos on the trail with your iphone.

And since it’s the season to spread the love, I’m going to do another giveaway today. I’m going to give one lucky reader a $25 gift card to REI.  Oh yes I am!  All you have to do is…

1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite outdoor activity and whether or not you’d be happy to receive any of these gifts above.

2. For one extra entry, go like my facebook page.  Come back here and leave another comment telling me you did so (or tell me if you already are a fan.)

3. For one more entry, tweet about the giveaway, including a link to this post and make sure to mention me, @hikemama. Then come back here and leave a comment telling me you tweeted.

sample tweet: Gifts for the Girly Trailblazer and a $25 gift card giveaway to REI! http://wp.me/phD5i-2jB @hikemama

That’s it!  Good luck and happy trails. One lucky reader will be randomly chosen on Saturday, December 15.

psst–check out my other open giveaway here!

Science and Nature for Kids {Nature-Inspired Christmas Tree Ornaments}

One of the things that I love most about Christmas since becoming a mom is watching my children not only decorate the tree, but make their own ornaments to use as well.  On our tree you will see a mix of sentimental hand-me-downs, glass ornaments and ornaments  lovingly made by the kids.  This year, however, I wanted to add a touch of nature to the tree.  One of the kid-friendly projects that we really enjoyed was making ornaments from some natural items we had on hand in the kitchen.  With a bag of oranges, some cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, acorns and twine, we came up with these beautiful ornaments!

Nature Christmas Craft

For the oranges, you can slice them thinly or you can use the peel to make a design.  Take all of your orange creations and place in a warm oven (lowest temperature possible) for several hours to dry.  To keep the oranges from sticking to your baking sheet, I recommend laying them down on a piece of cheesecloth.  You might also want to lay something on top of the peels to keep them from curling up while drying (I used the metal lid part of a mason jar for mine.) Keep a close eye on them and make sure to remove from the heat immediately if they begin to brown.

Stay tuned for some more nature-inspired Christmas crafts!