I Don’t Do Perfect

Last night my children asked to have a Christmas party. On November 29th. I’m not quite ready to do that since I’m still cleaning up from Thanksgiving, but I did say we could do a craft.

Perusing Pinterest, Big E saw the perfect Christmas Craft –  a cute orange and white paper ornament from HowAboutOrange.blogspot.com that we had all the supplies for at home.

The directions seemed simple enough with some parent help so we got to work. Here’s how ours ended up.
Obviously I am not a Pinterest maven. And my son and daughter noticed.
“It’s not supposed to look like that!”
“Why did you make it this way?”
“I wanted it perfect!”
Sorry kids. I don’t do perfect. Especially on my first try.
I make mistakes. I do my best. Part of me feels flattered that my tots assume that I could make a perfect ornament on my first try. I think that’s part of childhood wonder, seeing your parents as infallible. 
But the larger part of me wants to teach them that life is a series of attempts and failures, halfway done projects and less than perfect results. It’s called progress. This larger part of me also wants to teach them to only say nice things to their mother, especially when she’s trying to do something nice for them like make a Pinterest ornament.
A while ago I decided that parenting is just doing your best. When I think back on my childhood I can’t remember many specific lessons on how to be a good person. But I remember my parents being good people. I remember how rarely they argued, how they worked together and how they loved all of their nine children. And now I can hear myself saying things they said and acting how they act. I figure that even if I can’t teach my kids by overt lessons, maybe they’ll pick it up through osmosis. 
After the Christmas Paper Ornament project, the insults, timeouts and hangry banter we sat down to dinner. Roast Chicken and Potatoes. It’s become one of my favorite meals to make and eat. The first time I made it wasn’t perfect but now I can honestly say it’s the tastiest chicken I have ever had. That’s what happens with experience. Each time we try the results improve.
So the craft turned out less than perfect, but the chicken was pretty close. That’s no surprise to me. I don’t do perfect, but I can get better every time I try.
Now I just have to teach that to my kids.

#ThankfulforFamilies #OutdoorFamilies Giveaway!

I feel so blessed looking back on all the outdoor fun my mountain family had this year. This Thanksgiving I’m teaming up with 20 awesome outdoor family bloggers to share the gratitude love. You know what that means! Giveaways!

We want to flood the internet with our #OutdoorFamilies and #ThankfulforFamilies Instagram photos. Share your favorites on Instagram for a chance to win some great prizes.

Enter to win the #ThankfulForFamilies #OutdoorFamilies giveaway!

Steps  to Enter:
  1. Post a NEW photo of your outdoor family on Instagram making sure to include both #ThankfulForFamilies AND #OutdoorFamilies and tell us why you love your family!
  2. Follow ALL of our awesome participating hosts to win! Tap on MY photo(@YOURINSTAGRAMNAME)  to see where to go next. Follow that host, and find THEIR awesome prize in their feed. Tap on their photo to see where to go next. Repeat until you have come full circle.
  3. Check out ALL the awesome giveaways and make a comment (one per photo) on the prize(s) you want to win!

Giveaway entry rules:
  • Contest will run from November 19-30, 2015.
  • Entrants must be a resident of US or Canada
  • Entrants’ Instagram account must be a public account.
  • Entrants must post a new, original, and taken by you photo (a re-posted photo or tagging an old photo will disqualify you) to Instagam of their family, or members of their family, outdoors.
  • All photos entered in the contest must be tagged with BOTH #OutdoorFamilies AND #ThankfulForFamilies.
  • Entrants must comment on Instagram on the specific prize they are entering to win. Photographs of prizes will be distributed among all the hosts’ Instagram feeds. Entrants need to only comment ONCE per prize. Additional comments DO NOT equal additional entries.
  • Entrants may post a photo once per day to their Instagram feeds for additional entries, up to  12 entries total. All photos must use the two contest hashtags.
  • All photo entries must be submitted by 10 pm MST on November 30th.
  • All winners will be chosen randomly from all submitted entries at the end of the week and announced on each of the blogs after December 1st. Notifying comments will also be left on the winning photos on Instagram.
  • Hosts will do their best to contact winners. If prizes are not claimed within 48 hours of notification, the prize will go to the next winner.
What you can win:
**PLEASE note prizes have various shipping capabilities which are described below**
Participating Bloggers (who worked hard to round up these great prizes!):
*Make sure you check out all of these great blogs!*

  1. The Adventures in Parenthood Project: http://www.AdventurousParents.com
  2. Outdoor Families Magazine: http://www.OutdoorFamiliesOnline.com
  3. The Mommy Hiker: http://www.MommyHiker.com
  4. Rockies Family Adventures: http://www.RockiesFamilyAdventures.com
  5. The Kid Project: http://www.KidProject.org
  6. Rockieschick’s Adventures: http://www.Rockies-Chick.com
  7. Play Outside Guide: http://www.PlayOutsideGuide.com
  8. Tales of a Mountain Mama: http://www.TalesOfaMountainMama.com
  9. Colorado Mountain Mom: http://www.ColoradoMountainMom.com
  10. Mountain Mom and Tots: http://www.MountainMomAndTots.com
  11. Colorado Mountain Mom: http://coloradomountainmom.com/

Best Gear of the Year + Links to Holiday Gift Guides

Every year I like to look back on the best gear of the year. What did I try? What was awesome? And I’m not the only one. More than 15 outdoor family bloggers got together this year to share our picks for holiday gift giving. Check out my choices and the links below to get some great Gift-spiration just in time for the holidays.

Velobling Jewelry – Unique jewelry and accessories made from recycled bike parts. They are beautiful. Watch for a giveaway coming soon!

Features: Recycled bike parts, made in USA
Uses: Unique jewelry and accessories.
Price: $12 – $155

ChicoBag Produce and Snack Time Bags – I had never thought about using reusable bags in the produce department until ChicoBag gave me some to try. Now I use these bags every week. It’s a small way to make an environmental difference and I don’t have a bunch of plastic bags to throw out every week. I also use their Snack Time RePETe reusable bags when packing my son’s lunch every day.

Features: Three different materials for different food needs. Packable, light-weight, reusable.
Uses: Produce, snacking, food storage.
Price: $12.99 – $16.99

Earth Creations – This eco-conscious clothier uses dirt to dye clothes. At least that’s how it started. I love the bicycle inspired design of this T-Shirt they sent me, as well as the comfortable cotton feel.

Features: Organic and sustainable clothing colored with natural dyes.
Uses: Mens, Womens and Kids clothing.
Price: $10 – $115

Aquabot by Lunatec – My kids would choose this as their top gear choice of the year. This water bottle add on presurizes your water, turning an ordinary bottle into a multi use tool. Cleaning, drinking, waterfights, the Aquabot can spray up to 25 feet. See my review here.

Features: Fits standard Nalgene and CamelBak water bottle tops. Easy to use. Variable setting for spray or stream.
Uses: Cleaning, Drinking, Water Fights
Price: $20-$28

Monkey Mat – Perfect for an outdoor baby or frequent picnicker. The Monkey Mat came in handy on several outdoor adventures when I just needed a place to put Mountain Baby for a minute. Diaper changes, picnics, sitting by the splash pad, the Monkey Mat was my go-to ground cover. See my review here.

Features: Water Resistant, lightweight, conveniently clips to a stroller or backpack.
Uses: Picnics, Hiking, Ground cover. I used it on the side of a parking lot when I couldn’t find a place to change the baby.
Price: $19.99

LuminAID Solar Lantern – My husband purchased the PackLite 12 early this summer. It’s light weight, inflatable, solar lantern that accompanies us on every campout. See my full review here.

Features: Light weight, inflatable, solar charged
Uses: Camping, Emergency Preparedness
Price: $22.95

Lifestraw Go – This was one of the coolest products I’ve used this year. There is something awesome about scooping water right out of a river and taking a big swig. See my review here.

Features: Built in water filter for easy use.
Use: Water filtration, Hiking, Camping, Emergency preparedness
Price: $34.95

Liberty Bottleworks – Water bottles made from recycled aluminum right here in the USA. The unique and colorful designs instantly drew my eye. See my review here.

Features: Double wall aluminum, unique threadless cap style, awesome art.
Use: Water Bottle
Price: $23

Butler Over Boot – Little G loves these bright rain boots. Designed to be worn either with the included liner or over the child’s own shoe, the Butler Boots are fun, easy to put on and really cute. Full review coming soon.

Features: Wide opening with toddler friendly fastener. Durable. Fits over regular shoes or can use insert.
Uses: Waterproof rain or snow boots
Price: $49.99

Pakems – These packable boots have become part of my camping experience. It doesn’t matter if I wear sandals, sneakers or snowboard boots all day, when I’m done with the activities, the Pakems come out. They’re lightweight, compact and come with their own storage. And my kids loved coloring theirs. Full review coming soon.

Features: Lightweight, Compact, Warm
Uses: Packable shoe for relaxing after outdoor activities.
Price: $45-$65

Go Sun Stove – This Solar Oven, the Go Sun Sport, was really fun to use. It’s a unique outdoor cooking experience, requires no fuel and is shockingly lightweight. See my full review here.

Features: Lightweight, innovative design, requires no extra fuel source, quiet
Uses: Cooking and baking outdoors.
Price: $279

Looking for more? Try these awesome gift guides from some of the best Outdoor Families I know.

Hike Like A Woman- Holiday Gear Guide

Burley Build a Legacy Post

I’m not a hardcore bike rider, although I do love a good ride. So when Burley approached me about writing a guest post for their blog I was like –  Who? Me?

Then I saw the Build a Legacy video on the Burley website and I realized anyone can build a legacy. It doesn’t have to involve epic adventures or giving millions to charity.
So I wrote up a short piece for their website. Head over to their blog to read the full story. I hope you like it!