My Best Outdoor Moments of 2014

This year I snowboarded with Olympians, saw the eighth wonder of the world and fulfilled my lifelong wish of seeing a bear in the wild. Our mountain family has done numerous camp outs, hikes, bikerides and other adventures. We’re looking forward to our next adventurer joining our family in March of next year but before we say goodbye to 2014 I wanted to look back at a few of my favorite things. What were your best outdoor moments of the year?

Last winter I loved hitting the slopes with Team Utah Snowboarding and Sundance Resort. Meeting the amazing athletes on the adaptive snowboarding team, as well as the hard core racers on Team Utah’s Boardercross crew inspired me to compete in my first ever banked slalom snowboarding race. It’s great to try new things!

Motherhood had some emotional ups and downs this year as Big E started kindergarten and I found out I was expecting again. Surprise!

Our favorite vacations this year were seeing the jaw dropping wall of dinosaur fossils at Dinosaur National Park, RZRing in Moab, Beach camping in Carpinteria and a couples’ trip to the great state of Alaska. There’s nothing like taking the tots to wild spaces to enjoy all the variety the world has to offer.

As 2014 comes to a close it’s nice to look back and realize that I have spent my time in a way that is important to me. With my family. In the outdoors.

What were your best outdoor moments of the year?

Let’s Step Outside plus #WILDmovie giveaway

I posted on Wednesday about Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild and the movie that’s out now starring Reese Witherspoon. Here’s a clip that I particularly liked.

The book describes Cheryl’s journey on the Pacific Crest Trail, which she started after her life fell apart. Her mother died young from cancer, she got into a pattern of sex and drugs, got divorced all before the age of thirty. It got me thinking about how physically being in the wild calms the wild parts of our lives. Have you noticed a difference in your mood when you connect to the outdoors?

In my daily efforts of motherhood I regularly have to step outside. My young children are great mess makers and fighters at times. I yell and nag at them more than I care to share and when they choose to be naughty out of spite I have to give us all a “timeout” to calm down. What the outdoors does for us is force me out of  get-‘er-done mode and into vacation mode even if just for a few minutes. We’re all happier as a result.

So how does being in the wild affect your mood? Life? Please share a comment by 12/17/14 and if you do you’ll be automatically entered to win a copy of the book Wild as well as a copy of the movie soundtrack! Thanks #WILDmovie!

Cheryl Strayed’s Wild plus #WILDmovie giveaway

One of my favorite reads of 2013 was Cheryl Strayed’s WILD. I was lucky to attend the Sundance Author Series luncheon where she spoke about her book and loved reading it in the weeks that followed. It’s a great memoir about finding purpose in life through experiences in the outdoors. Here’s my original post.

Now there’s a movie version out starring Reese Witherspoon.

Cheryl Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail after her world fell apart around her. Although I have not lost my mother, gotten divorced or struggled with drugs I can relate to her desire to find solace in the outdoors. Experiencing wilderness, either with an epic thru-hike or a backyard campout, rounds out my life, lifts my mood and makes me a better person.

To celebrate the #WILDmovie release fox searchlight offered to host a giveaway of Cheryl Strayed’s book and a copy of the soundtrack. Just leave a comment after this post by 12/17/14 about what you get from being in the wild and you’re entered to win!

This giveaway is now over! Our randomized selection has concluded. Congratulations to Linda McGurk author of the blog Rain or Shine Mamma for winning this book and soundtrack! Giveaway Announcement

Today I asked Big E, “What’s your favorite season?” He said: “Winter because you can make snowballs and snowmen and throw the snowballs at the snowmen.” I love his reason, even though it’s not one I had considered.

Getting outdoors when it’s cold outside can be tough, but having good gear makes it easier. As a child I remember sledding with plastic bags over tennis shoes because there weren’t enough boots for my eight siblings and me. It wasn’t fun.

This year I’m happy to connect with Their collection of brand name kid gear is awesome – Burton, Obermeyer, Patagonia and The North Face. Plus their holiday gift guide has 100 great ideas for Winter Kid gifts and right now they’re having a clearance sale with items up to 70% off!

In honor of the season, is sponsoring next Wednesday’s #OutFam twitter chat by offering a Burton lunchbox giveaway for one lucky participant. Just sign on to Twitter from 2:30 – 3:00pm MST and follow the outdoor family hashtag #OutFam for a chance to win. I’ll be hosting at @MountainMomTots and we’ll be talking about Family Winter Adventures.

Here’s a quick preview –  My top tips for keeping Winter Kids warm.
1. Insist on a bathroom break before putting on snow pants.
2. Bib overalls keep snow out of waistbands.
3. Every coat should have its own pair of mittens in the pockets.
4. One pair of warm socks should be enough. If it’s not, get better socks and snow boots.
5. Teach tots early to zip and fasten as much as they can on their own. sent me one of their adorable Burton lunch boxes and little g immediately put it to use as a purse for her My Little Ponies. Even at three she could see how stylish it is. But I’m looking forward to using it as intended. With Big E’s allergies we bring our own food everywhere and a quality insulated lunch box is important. Plus I like the velcro straps on the back and zippered front pocket.

Join the #OutFam crew on twitter next Wednesday to discuss keeping kids warm in cold weather. Just by participating you have a chance to win! Open to US residents.