Get Outside No Matter the Weather

 

We’ve entered the shoulder season, the reverse spring when the weather can’t decide if it’ll be warm, windy, rainy or freezing.
I have to be honest. This is not my favorite time of year. The trees by my house have already dropped their leaves so the landscape is grey and dull. There’s no sparkling white snow to snowboard on and not enough warm sun to entice me outside either. My body isn’t used to bracing against the wind, rain or cold so when I open my door, I quickly want to shut it again.
But enough whining. I know I need to be outdoors everyday in order to not turn into a mean nasty troll. My kids need to be outdoors so they can run and climb and make messes I don’t have to clean up.

Continue reading “Get Outside No Matter the Weather”

Big Springs Park Snowshoe with Hike It Baby

Have you been “mama-stalked”?

Last August I was walking around the Outdoor Retailer trade show when a stranger approached me and handed me a card. She had noticed Baby L strapped to my chest (it was hard not to notice a second person plastered to the first). Her name was Shanti Hodges and she invited me to check out her website – Hike It Baby.
Once she said Hike It Baby something clicked in my head. I knew Shanti. We were part of the same Outdoor Family Bloggers Facebook Group. From there I knew she cared about getting outdoors with kids, just like me and I was more than happy to check out her website.

HikeIt Baby is a community of outdoors lovers who lead hikes in over 150 cities. Chances are there’s a local Hike It Baby branch near you. Run by volunteers, all hikes are free and offer an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with other parents of young children.
Since last August I’ve attended several local Hike It Baby Hikes and last month led a Snowshoe hike at Big Springs Park – my favorite local trail.
Little g was excited to try out her bear print snowshoes while Baby L was happy to sleep on my chest once again. We went out, a group of five mamas all carrying at least one child. We were all trying new things as most of the others had never been snowshoeing before.
We started out on the trail that followed a beautiful stream. I loved the ice formed by the water edge and the frozen landscape all around. It was great getting outdoors and we did pretty well for the first half mile.

Then all hell broke loose. We had gone just half a mile, but half a mile of snowshoeing while carrying twenty extra pounds (or more) is really hard. When we turned around to head back to the trailhead Little G decided she was done. She cried, complained, whined and refused to walk another step. Unlike another mother of a four year old I hadn’t brought a second baby carrier to strap her to my back. Instead I hobbled down the trail with Baby L in the wrap on my front and Little G clinging to my neck on my back. 


It was awkward and difficult and we were all glad when it was over.
One great thing about hiking with other moms is that they get it. Yes my daughter’s crying was annoying to everyone but they’d also been in situations where their kid didn’t do exactly what they wanted when they wanted. They knew that sometimes adventures with tots don’t always go exactly as planned.
That’s what makes Hike It Baby great. No hiker is left behind because they care about building the next generation of outdoor lovers. If you haven’t checked out Hike It Baby now’s the time. See what hikes are in your area and get out on the trail! 

Midway Ice Castles – The Coolest Place in Utah

I’m always looking for new ways to get outdoors with the kids, especially in winter. That’s why I was so excited to visit the Midway Ice Castles, an outdoor attraction made entirely of ice.

This one acre winter wonderland includes slot canyons, tunnels, a slide and a throne formed from beautiful frozen water. The walls extend twenty feet high and are lit from within with multicolored lights that change in time to music.

These ice sculptures are truly amazing. They reminded me of visiting Lehman Cave in Great Basin National Park with all the stalactites and stalagmites. The formations are all unique, built by water spraying onto icicles. Some take weeks to truly grow.

On this outdoor adventure, Little G, Baby L and I braved a snow storm to drive to Soldier Hollow in Midway, UT for the media preview. Little G loved the Frozen soundtrack and spent most of her time pretended to be Elsa in her ice castle (in her version there was a grandfather who also had ice powers). In her game she explored every area of the castle, some of which were impossible for me, a full-sized adult with a baby strapped on, to enter. I was glad to have the baby strapped on though, the floor is ice and snow and a stroller would’ve been impossible.

The snow falling added to the winter wonderland appeal, creating a sense of wonder and excitement. I loved exploring the different rooms and pathways. It was truly beautiful.

The Ice Castles company have locations in Utah, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Alberta, Canada. Opening dates and times may be different at each location since the attraction is dependent on weather. Last year they were only open 3 days, but this year they expect to remain open until March.

When you visit, make sure to purchase tickets online at the Ice Castles website – icecastles.com/midway. Not only is it cheaper, there are limited numbers of standby tickets available for each night they are open.

If you’re looking for something a little different this winter, check out the coolest place in Utah – Midway Ice Castles.

Hours
Monday-Thursday 3pm to 9pm
Friday 3pm to 10pm
Saturday Noon to 10pm
Sunday Closed

Online Pricing (Ages 0-3 are free)
Weekday
Child (4-11): $6.95
General (12+): $9.95

Weekend
Child (4-11): $8.95
General (12+): $12.95

Standby Pricing (Ages 0-3 are free)
Weekday
Child (4-11): $10.00
General (12+):$15.00

Weekend
Child (4-11): $12.00
General (12+): $18.00

The Magic of Bogs Footwear

Even though you can’t see them, I’m wearing Bogs Boots under all that snow.

This past Christmas we were buried under several FEET of snow. When there’s that much snow, you have to have good boots. Lucky for me Bogs Footwear sent me and Big E a pair of their insulated winter boots to review. I can tell you they rose to the challenge.

I was first introduced to Bogs Footwear by my sister in law. When I told her I was reviewing them for my blog she was more than enthusiastic. She sent me this note on facebook.


I like Bogs boots. Not cheap, but they are both rain and snow boots, so I only have 1 pair for all inclement weather. They last forever and don’t split (we ran through a lot of rain boots that way before). They also have good traction. They have handles on the side of the boots for the kids, so they can get them on and off easily themselves. They are very flexible (I don’t like stiff winter boots). They don’t get too hot in warmer weather, but keep feet toasty in the winter. My kids love them, I think they’re magic. They come in toddler sizes, kids, and adults. Every member of our household has a pair.

Magic? That’s high praise. 

Overall I’ve also been impressed with these boots. They’ve become the only boots I wear now because they are stylish enough to wear with skinny jeans and sturdy enough to take on rain, snow, sleet or hail. Okay, I’ve only tried them in rain and snow, but they are waterproof and rated up to -40F so I’m pretty sure they’d handle sleet and hail just fine.


Plus they’re cute. I like my feet to make a fashion statement, especially when the world around is so colorless and blah. Thanks Bogs Footwear.


Sometimes I have been cold even though the boots are rated at -40F. If I’m walking, chasing, climbing, playing or moving my toes stay warm and toasty, but riding on a snow machine or on occasion in the car my feet feel cold inside the boots. These boots come with efficient insulation that’s not bulky. In my opinion the insulation works best when it traps your own body heat.

Also, I wish I had requested one size smaller. I bought one size up thinking I would need the extra space with my thick winter socks, but Bogs Footwear run true to size. 

Big E opened his boots on Christmas morning and immediately put them to use climbing up the roof and jumping into the massive snow piles at our house. He’s worn them every day since. I like that the pattern is bright and recognizable too. We were at a busy children’s museum and his boots were the only way to keep track of where he was. 


Pros:

  • Sturdy, durable, waterproof 
  • Handles for getting on and off easily
  • Beautiful designs and colors
  • Rated for rain and snow up to -40 degrees
  • High quality construction
  • Efficient insulation that’s not bulky

Cons:

  • Cost $110-140 is not cheap for adult boots ($40-80 for toddler/kids)
  • The foot bed insert can pull out if you wear them without socks (I know it’s winter and I should always wear socks but sometimes I just have to run out quickly to my car).
  • Feet can feel cold if you’re stationary in the cold
Overall I’m very impressed. Maybe my sister-in-law was right. Maybe Bogs Footwear IS magic.

Update: I parked in a puddle yesterday and stepped out into 4+ inches of icy cold street water. It completely covered my feet which were luckily in my Bogs. I did not get even a tiny bit cold or wet. Talk about Waterproof.