Ice, ice baby…

What a Tennessee ice storm looks like:

ice

Yep, that’s the extent of it! We had 70 degree weather and tornadoes this past weekend, and now icy conditions through the week. At least it’s beginning to feel like winter, right?!

I’m not a cold weather gal, so I really can’t complain.  Hope you all are staying warm today!

Advertisements

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

10

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

9

10. Nature day with mama, March 2012

8

9. First canoe trip of 2012, April 2012

7

8. Nature for all, May 2012

5

7. Mother’s Day Caving, May 2012

4

6. The Great Sand Dunes, June 2012

3

5. Mini Muddy Buddy Run, July 2012

2

4. Alone in the wilderness, August 2012

1

3. Adventure and the special needs child, June 2012

0

2. Alpine Views in Colorado, June 2012

20120612-212637

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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.

HikerGifts

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!

Get a Job, Take a Hike: how to make sure everyone in the family enjoys the trail

Yesterday we took a leisurely hike through a nearby state park. Although the park is quiet and full of kid-friendly trails, it’s hardly the landscape that epic adventures are made of.  But it ended up being one of the best hikes we’ve ever taken together. We had no agenda and no timeline.  We just wanted to share some peaceful time together in the woods.  To ensure that everyone would have a fun, fuss-free hike, we assigned each child a “job.” As our kids are growing older, I find myself continually brainstorming new ways to make sure our hikes stay fun and upbeat. Read on to see how we did it on our last hike!

Little Man took on the role of our fearless trail leader (his most favorite job of all) and Big Brother was the keeper of the leaves (again, a job he loves.)  Little Man led the way and Big Brother collected leaves and strung them on a shoestring.  One of his favorite ways to play is to put beads on strings, so he was estactic!

The boys had a blast and enjoyed every single moment on the trail.  We ended with a picnic and a rock-jumping competition in the creek.
Fallen trees make the best playground, don’t you agree?
Happy kiddos make for a happy mommy and daddy.
We’ll count this as a successful and fun fall hike!
___________
Other posts you might enjoy:

Science and Nature for Kids {Make a Bird Feeder from a Pumpkin}

Halloween has passed and winter fast approaches.  If you are looking for a way to reuse any leftover pumpkins, here’s a great way to enjoy a nature activity with your kids.  Turn your old pumpkin into a bird feeder!  It’s easy and fun for little hands.

Start with a medium-sized pumpkin:

20121111-162514.jpg

Cut it in half and scoop out the insides (great sensory fun for the little helpers):20121111-162533.jpg

Using a nail, punch out some holes on opposite sides of the pumpkin:
20121111-162554.jpg

Use string or twine to make the holder:20121111-162607.jpg

Now punch out some larger holes on each side:20121111-162627.jpg

20121111-162643.jpg

You can slide a twig into the larger holes to make some perches for the birds.  Then hang it in a tree and fill it with some wild bird seed:
20121111-162700.jpg

And wait for the birdies to find the food!20121111-162711.jpgSimple, easy and fun…and the birds will thank you.

My First Trail Race

Today I ran my first ever trail race–8.2 steep, muddy miles through the forest.  The temps rose into the 80’s but luckily there was a nice breeze and enough cloud cover to keep things comfortable. All I can say is that those hills kicked my rear end!  This run was all about celebrating the beauty of our local state parks.  I enjoyed every moment of my time on the trail today, even those darn hills.  I really wished I could have taken some pictures of the gorgeous scenery, but you know, I was running and stuff.

Everyone thought it was hysterical that I was crossing the finish line with a huge smile on my face, but I was just happy to finally reach the end and not be dead last!

Don’t ask what this pose was about, I think I was a bit delirious and ready for a drink of water.  Even photo shop couldn’t make me look good after this run 😉

It wasn’t my best time, but at least I got out there and did it, right?  That’s got to count for something.  Now let’s hope I can shake these jello legs by tomorrow.  Right now I’m on the couch while the kids are running around  like crazy wondering why mama’s actually resting.    I think the laundry can wait until tomorrow, too.

Hope you all are enjoying your Saturday as well!

 

 

Aww shucks…..

I opened my email last night to find that my blog had been nominated for the Top 25 Health and Wellness Moms on Circle of Moms. I was stoked when I became a Top 25 Outdoorsy Mom awhile back, so I never thought I’d be nominated for anything else.  Whoever did think of nominating me, thank you very much!  I’m honored that someone would take the time to think of me and this blog.

I’m trying hard to take charge of my health and wellness, as well as the health and wellness of my family.  If you are already a regular reader you will see that we believe that nature not only heals the soul, but can play a powerful role in providing positive sensory input and problem solving skills for my child with Autism.  I can safely say that without so much time outdoors connecting with nature, we never would have seen such progress in Big Brother.  I hope to use this blog to inspire others to get out there and live a life of adventure….for your health and for your happiness!

And for myself, I have been working hard to train for my upcoming Half Marathon.  In fact, tomorrow morning I’m running a 7 mile trail race to get warmed up for the big event 🙂  Since I started my training a couple of months ago, I’ve lost over 12 pounds and have dropped my percentage of body fat by several points.  I am feeling more energized and happier already!  I am so excited about this new journey I’m on and I am happy to be sharing it with all of you.  If you feel like voting, you can click on the image below to do so.  I’m just excited that people find this blog as a place of encouragement and inspiration.  Thank you all!

I’ll let you know how my first ever trail race goes tomorrow, wish me luck, I think I’m going to need it!