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!


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.


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! @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!

Barefoot Books: Review and Giveaway

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
– Jacqueline Kennedy

Throughout life, there is very little that remains unchanged. Reading, however, has been one of the lovliest and most unwavering pleasures of my life. I can vividly recall stories read during childhood and reflect upon how they changed my view of the world. Even today, I feel like there is hardly a more divine way to pass the time than diving into a good book. I hope that I can pass on that same love of reading to my children. That means I am always on the hunt for books that will help ignite that spark in my two boys. So when I came across Barefoot Books the other day, I just knew I had to get my hands on some of their amazing books. It seems that their passion for weaving nature, the earth, different cultures and global communities into their stories aligns pretty well with my own motherly aspirations. The wonderful folks at Barefoot Books offered to send me some books to review and even offered a giveaway for my readers. Y’all, I am so excited!

A little bit about Barefoot Books:

“Barefoot Books began with two mothers who wanted their children to have books that would feed the imagination, while instilling a respect for diversity and a love of the planet. Today, we are a world-wide community of writers, artists, storytellers, musicians, and others who are committed to providing timeless stories and captivating art that can help children become happy, engaged members of a global society.”

The Review:

The boys were thrilled to open the package from Barefoot Books when it arrived. We were sent two lovely books, Portside Pirates! and My Mama Earth.

Portside Pirates! was a major hit at our house.


This colorful book also includes a CD so thay you can sing along with the melodic story. The boys went crazy over the very catchy pirate song and it’s been playing in my car stereo for days now. I’m even singing it in my sleep. But I digress. Not only is this a fun book with a great sing along CD, but the book also includes some history in the back about famous pirates and boats. It’s an all-around awesome book and my boys are really enjoying it.

My Mama Earth is another wonderful book that I enjoy reading to my boys at bedtime.

I love that this book “emphasizes the essential role that nature plays in everyone’s life by equating it to the significance of a mother.” The illustrations are gorgeous and whimsical, and the story conveys the timeless theme of a loving mother-child relationship. It certainly makes for a wonderful addition to the bedtime routine. I have to say that I really enjoyed this one myself.

These two books are lovely, but most of all my children truly enjoy reading them. I cannot wait to add some more Barefoot Books to my collection, especially some that highlight other cultures from around the globe (they even have an adoption themed book, a garden book, a yoga book and a book about Moon Festival that I’ve got my eye on….heck, I guess I just need to order the whole catalog!) They have a large selection of titles for all ages, so I am sure there is something for everyone.

Barefoot Books also has a unique Ambassador program that allows individuals to earn income or fundraise for a child’s school by selling books. They also have a blog you can follow and free storytime podcasts for you and your family to enjoy. Check it all out right here.

The Giveaway:

Want to win a Barefoots Book of your choice? Well now is your chance!

Rules for entry:

1. Visit the Barefoot Books website and choose your favorite title.
2. Come back here and leave a comment telling me which book you picked. (Make sure your name and email address is included. Also, you must have a North American shipping address- no PO boxes.)
3. One lucky winner (randomly chosen) will receive their choice of one Barefoot Books title. The winner will be notified directly via e-mail.
4. Contest closes Thursday, July 26 at midnight.

For Additional Chances to Win – Please leave separate comments to let me know you have done any of the following:

Follow Barefoot Books @livebarefoot on Twitter
‘Like’ Barefoot Books on Facebook
‘Like’ Hike.Blog.Love on Facebook
Follow @Hikemama on Twitter

I received two complimentary books from Barefoot Books to review, but as always, all opinions expressed on this blog are entirely my own.

Searching for…The You We Adore {a children’s adoption book review and giveaway}

For those who read my blog, you already know that I’m passionate about the great outdoors, special needs parenting and adoption. My motto is adventure for all, which was inspired by the adoption of Big Brother. If not for him, I’m not really sure that I would even feel inspired enough to keep up with the blog. It is my goal to weave together many stories on this blog that highlight and intertwine my three passions. Today I want to share with you all about an adoption-themed book for children. I know a lot of my readers are not necessarily touched by adoption, but I just had to share for those who are!

A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I would like a copy of Searching for…the You We Adore. Of course I can’t pass up an adoption related book, so I excitedly said yes! The author, Valerie Westfall, was kind enough to provide a copy for one of my readers as well.


Searching for…The You We Adore by Valerie Westfall
Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey

When the book arrived, my Little Man excitedly ran to the door to take the package from the delivery man. He immediately opened the package and we sat down, along with Big Brother, to read the story.

What I loved most about the book is that it is a beautifully illustrated and simple story that focuses on the love that adoptive parents feel for their child, especially during the waiting phase. In this story, the love of the waiting parents–symbolized by a red ribbon–is sent out all across the world in search of their child. I adore the fact that this book includes diversity and is suitable for all those who have adopted, whether it be domestically or internationally. The overriding theme is that the parents’ love is strong enough to send them searching to the ends of the earth for their child. You see, both literally and figuratively, we have traveled to the ends of the earth for our children. I love how this sweet book captures that fierce love in such a beautiful, simple way. There is no talk of paperwork or processes, only of the love that unites a family. You and your children will love this book and it will make a great addition to your child’s library!

My kids gave it two thumbs up 🙂


You can purchase a copy of the book by visiting the website I listed above (psst….you can also preview the book at the site, so go check it out!)

So how can you enter to win a copy of this delightful book? All you need to do is leave a comment on this post! You can also earn additional entries, too. Here’s how to do it:

1. You must leave a comment on this post telling me how you are touched by adoption or why you would like to win this book. Make sure your email address is present when leaving the comment (not visible on the blog) so that I can contact you!

2. For one additional, optional entry you can share this post on your blog. Make sure to leave an additional comment on this post telling me you did so, and please share the link!

3. For an additional, optional entry you can tweet about this giveaway and leave an additional comment on this post telling me you did so. The tweet can go something like this: I just entered to win a cool children’s adoption themed book from @hikemama Check it out!

4. For an additional, optional entry you can go “like” my fb page and leave an additional comment here telling me you did so. If you are already a liker, just leave an additional comment telling me so!

One lucky winner will be chosen at random at 8 am on Tuesday, July 3.


I was provided a complementary copy of Searching for…the You We Adore. All opinions expressed, however, are my own.

The kickoff of NaBloPoMo: Day 1

nablo0809.120x200I’m kind of exhausted today so I’m not sure what to write for the first day of August’s NaBloPoMo (national blog posting month) theme:  Tomorrow.  Why don’t I just give a run down of all the things I hope to accomplish for tomorrow, and all the things I *hope for* for tomorrow.

We’re getting ready to have a big Family Day celebration (1 yr. adoption anniversary) at our house, so we’ve got a lot to do.  I’m going to be making some really neat cakes for the party…it’s gonna be very cool!!  I can’t wait to share them with everyone. Oh, and can you believe it’s been almost one year since we traveled to Vietnam to bring River home?  Amazing.  Man, how our lives have changed since then.  How did I ever live without my little man? I can’t wait to reminisce about our time in Vietnam as our 1 year anniversary approaches. Alright, enough rambling, here’s what I’ve got to get done tomorrow…

things I need to do:

-weed the garden in the front yard

-help hubby wash the back deck

-clean the ENTIRE house (OMG, I’m so behind, my house looks it belongs on an episode of Cops–see Laura, you’re not the only one)!

-prepare some more Chemistry lectures for the fall (sheesh, I’m never going to get done in time…classes start in the end of August)

-leap a tall building in a single bound

…oh, wait….no….that’s superman, not me.  I’m a far cry from anything “super.” I just added that last one in there to make sure you were still reading…but you’re probably not…so I guess I can feel free to say anything….kdioueanvhioIKFDNDFALijfsdl.  Yes, you read that correctly.  OK, moving on.

things I *hope for* for tomorrow:

-I hope that the light bulb for Hudson, our puppy, finally goes on and he pees outside instead of on my bedroom floor.  Seriously. Eww.

-I hope that River will be in a good mood

-I hope that Mothers in Action for Vietnam (MAV) will be blessed with continued support from its generous donors

-I hope that more people will spread the word about MAV…thant means you, yes you…stop what you are doing and blog about this cause!

-I hope that the families in Vietnam we have already helped will feel how much we care for them from across the miles…that they will know they matter to us and that it is our honor to be able to help out

-I hope that soon, very soon, I can have a margarita in my hand and a bowl of chips & salsa in front of me

-I hope the sun will come out tomorrow, tomorrow…because there a chance that it could be really wet and yucky here

-I hope that song gets out of my head before it drives me crazy (it’s a short drive, folks)

-I hope that more people will enter my GIVEAWAY!  If not, the current contenders have some really good odds going on.


Have you heard??  MAV has already reached our first goal…we’ve raised $670 for the two surgeries and over $200 for the mobile clinic.  We still need you help and support. So spread the word and donate if you can.

And to say thank you for allowing me to blog about MAV, check out the post below for my GIVEAWAY.  Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win!!!

Favorite Photo(s) Friday


Hubby snapped this picture of me sitting on a huge pile of rocks at the entrance to a cave we were exploring.  A roughly 1 mile hike into the cave led to a gorgeous waterfall:


{OK, so remember, the cave is completely dark inside, so we had to shine every light we had just to get a picture (flash does nothing in this setting) so the quality is a little low, but it was beautiful!}

I really need to do a real post on this particular cave trip…it was a good one.  Ah, I need some motivation to go back and post pictures from the last several years!

Also, don’t forget to enter my GIVEAWAY!

A GIVEAWAY to show my gratitude!

A friend is one with whom you are comfortable, to whom you are loyal, through whom you are blessed, and for whom you are grateful.” – William Arthur Ward

I’ve been humbled and blown away by the great response we’ve had for Mothers in Action for Vietnam. Your donations are changing lives.  I am so grateful for all of you who have taken the time to blog about our cause or have given a donation.  I consider those who read this friends, and I want to thank you deeply for your support. I’d also like to take this time to thank two very dear friends by whom all of this is possible, Kerry and Kelly, xoxo.

Now I want to pay that forward by being generous with my readers…my friends. This small purse/clutch was handmade in Vietnam through this organization. It’s made of 100% silk and it’s very lovely. It’s my gift to one lucky reader:



Now, here is what you have to do to enter for a chance to win…leave me a comment and tell me these two things:

1. tell me how you found my blog or why you enjoy reading it

2. if you could raise funds for a cause you are passionate about (any cause in the whole wide world, heck it could even be for you), what would it be and why?

**you can earn an extra entry by posting about this on your blog…once you’ve posted and linked to me, leave another comment on this post to let me know**

Leave a comment and include your answers to these two things.  Only people who answer both will be considered for the drawing. Then I’ll pick a winner randomly on Tuesday, August 4th!  If no one enters my little giveaway, no worries…I’ll just pick a friend to send this to 🙂

Also be sure to check back tomorrow for the kickoff of NaBloPoMo, which involves the theme “tomorrow,” ironically.  Oh yeah, and if you haven’t already…visit HERE to get in on the action.  Amazing things are happening, don’t you want to be a part of it?!

**I think I will start doing giveaways more often…and for April, Angie and Leah, I have not forgotten you!  Your small gifts are on their way 🙂