Battle of Wills – I Don’t WANT to Ride a Bike

All winter long I begged, bribed and coerced my children into skiing with me. It’s not that they don’t like it. While out on the slopes both Big E and Little G have a great time – laughing, chatting, and racing down the hill. But the fight to get them to the lift is awful. You’d think I was asking them to spend two hours poking themselves in the eye. It’s skiing – fun, exhilarating, joyful.

Now that Spring is upon us and the slopes are riddled with dirt spots I’ve given up the fight and moved on to the next outdoor activity. Biking. 

I’m starting slow. Little g has a balance bike that she refused to ride all last year. I’ve taken it on our favorite local trail twice now. She refused to ride it both times. Big E is still on training wheels. I haven’t taken them off yet this season, but when I suggested he borrow a friend’s balance bike instead he locked himself in the car and refused to go on the trail with us.

Both Big E and Little G have said they don’t like feeling “wobbly” on the bike. I have attempted to explain that practice makes the wobbly feeling go away. But it seems like they don’t trust me where new sports are concerned.

I get it. Trying new things is scary, especially if there’s potential for self injury. But learning to ride a bike has the potential to add so much joy to their lives! I remember begging my parents to teach me to ride without training wheels and feeling so proud when I figured out how it all worked. I want that for my kids. Bike riding is not only fun, it’s a life skill.

Again I am faced with a dilemma. Just like with skiing, my children say they don’t like something, but I know they will have fun if they attempt it with an open mind. How much do I push it? How can I change my approach? Do I emphasize what a privilege it is to ride a bike? How lucky they are for the opportunity? Or do I accept the fact that my kids view bike riding as a chore and put it on their chore charts in the same category as Piano Practice?

One challenge of living near Sundance Mountain Resort is that middle word – Mountain. We live on a slope that would be deadly for a new bike rider, so anytime we want to practice riding we have to go somewhere flat and paved. It becomes an ordeal. Pumping up tires, loading bikes, finding helmets, driving, unloading, arguing, finally getting on the trail.

I want my kids to learn to ride, but not only that, I want them to work at something that’s tough. I want them to get up when they fall. Keep trying. Don’t quit. Have a good attitude even when it’s hard. If they can learn those lessons now, how much easier will their life be?

I don’t have a good answer for my question of how to make bike riding fun. I know I’ll try a few things.

  • Have special one-on-one bike outings with each of them. 
  • Bring Mountain Dad in for support. 
  • Talk about biking with a positive attitude. 
  • Set a family goal. 
  • Find them friends to bike with. 

Maybe some of these things will help turn the tide from constant complaint to reluctant enthusiasm. Hopefully before spring ends I will hear them say something like this.

“Sure Mom, we’d love to go on a bike ride with you.” That’d be a dream come true.

Perfect Picnic GIVEAWAY – Food and Drink

Only 1 more day to enter! Giveaway ends March 29th!

The third and final day of our Perfect Picnic GIVEAWAYS. Don’t forget to post about your outdoor eating adventures on instagram, twitter and the Mountain Mom and Tots Facebook Page. Tag @mountainmomtots in a photo of your perfect picnic so we can share the outdoor dining love.

Today we’re talking food and liquids. I consider myself a connoisseur of water bottles. From twist tops to pour spouts I’ve tried just about every bottle combination and it’s given me a strong favorite. But before I get to it, let’s talk about the youngest in the family.

Bubi Bottles

These bottles you need to feel to believe. Made from squeezable silicone, the squish up small for portable storage. Seriously so squeezable.

But when I first tried out this sample Bubi Bottle gave me, I did not like it at all. Squeezable or not, it was hard to screw on the nipple since the material of the bottle is so squishy. The built in hard plastic retainer helps with this but it seemed like I was constantly missing the threads and leaking all over my baby. Plus Baby L wouldn’t use it for months.

Now that Baby L is older, however, she has mastered the Bubi Bottle and I like it much better. I think the squeeze top attachment would be more useful than the baby nipple since that’s what you want to do with it anyway. But Baby L seems to like it. Maybe it feels like the real thing.

Polar Bottles

This sample pack of water bottles was given to me at the Outdoor Retailer trade show last summer. The innovative design of the Polar Bottle 22 oz Ergo’s half twist spout is hard to see in the photo, but it just requires a half turn to open and the flow is regulated by turning the top more or less. I’m not a huge fan of the crinkly paper look, but that’s what gives these BPA and Phalate Free plastic water bottles their insulation.

I like the ease of pouring. It helps me fill up the kids water bottles without having to share germs. I don’t like the squareish shape because it tapers too wide to fit in my backpack’s side pocket.

It’s cool, except that it’s not very obvious when the top is twisted making it prone to leaking in my house. Also, the Polar bear icon the polar bottle has a tiny head. I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but it really does.

The traditional sports top on Little G’s 12 oz Polar Bottle Kidsworks great. It has become her favorite.

AVEX Sport

My favorite water bottle I’ve tried is the AVEX Sport FreeFlow . It’s the pink one in the photo above. With a simple push button pour system it makes it easy to use for all ages. I can refill the kids waters from my larger bottle or if I forgot to bring theirs they can drink easily from mine, even the baby. The amount of water released is controlled by the pressure placed on the push button.

I liked it so much I included it on my great giftable gear post from 2014. And now the redesigned AVEX Stainless Steel FreeFlow is the next generation. I contacted Avex to ask for a prize for one lucky winner!

Now to the food! A Perfect Picnic wouldn’t be complete without tasty snacks.

Wacky Apple
Two years ago we did a review for Wacky Apple, a company that knows its way around an orchard. My kids loved their flat fruits and flavored applesauces so I knew immediately who to ask for a Perfect Picnic Giveaway Pack.

Enter the giveaway below before March 29, 2016 to win! And don’t forget to enter Day One and Day Two of Perfect Picnic Giveaway Week!

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Perfect Picnic GIVEAWAY – Keeping it Hot and Cold

Welcome to Day two of the Perfect Picnic series. Today we’re talking about keeping things hot and cold. Remember to share your photos of perfect picnics (or attempts at perfect picnics) on instagram, twitter and the Mountain Mom and Tots Facebook Page. Tag @mountainmomtots in a photo of your perfect picnic so we can share the outdoor dining love.

I asked Big E what he would pack on the perfect picnic. Here’s his list:

  • Cotton Candy
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Nachos
  • Blueberry Juice (I’m not even sure what this is)
  • Chocolate Milk
I don’t think I could do Nachos without a heat source of some kind but I’m pretty sure these insulated food containers could help with the potatoes and blueberry juice – just not at the same time.

This water bottle company is branching out to offer Double Wall Vacuum-Insulated food storage containers and they gave me a 25 oz one to try out. It’s been a life changer. With Big E allergic to wheat, eggs and nuts I’m always looking for nontraditional food options that work for picnics and school lunches.

Having a Fifty/Fifty food storage container that actually keeps hot food hot has opened a world of possibilities. Soup, stew, stir fry, even baked potatoes. Now Big E can actually enjoy a warm meal at lunch time instead of having homemade lunchables every day of his life. And the steam release button is pretty cool, so the lid never gets stuck by steam pressure. I love that warm food stays warm. Such a novel thought.

The Fifty/Fifty 25 oz food container is a good size for two servings of food. It’s a little big for just Big E’s lunch, but even with being half full the Double Wall Vacuum Insulation works awesome. Plus it’s essential for the perfect picnic food. Ice cream! 

I chose this company as one of my top ten picks from this year’s winter Outdoor Retailer trade show. This stainless steel insulated bottle company is in the business of keeping hot drinks hot. Liquid Hardware’s owner Steve Kitto graciously gave me a 25 oz Outrigger bottle to review. The magnet in the lid attaches to the top of the bottle making it a one handed system that’s really cool. Not only that, the lid floats so if you put it in still water you have an automatic compass! Pretty sweet survival feature.
Plus I heard Liquid Hardware is coming out with a new cafe lid feature in the next few months. Keep an eye out!

My favorite insulated containers were these beauties I requested from Timolino. The Timolino Biner Vacuum Mug has a built in carabiner lid which was pretty useful to clip instantly to a purse, bag or stroller. When I put ice cold lemonade in the Timolino Biner Vacuum Mug the ice was still intact seven hours later! And the no slip base is nice to prevent spills. I just wish the biner clip were a smidge thinner, it didn’t quite fit on my backpack’s thick handle strap.

The larger Alpine Vacuum Bottleis great for a family outing. With a 40 or 50 oz version, two cups, attachable strap, popup handle and a pour through spout it seems perfectly designed for hot cocoa on the go. The wide mouth is great for ice cubes too so any drink you plan to share would go great in the Timolino Alpine Vacuum Bottle.

Little g also loved her 20 oz Icon Vacuum Bottlewith the one touch, one hand pouring. The strap was great for her to carry herself and it’s currently on sale on the Timolino website. I love the fun colors, but if you’re not interested in baby pink or powder blue there’s also a sleek stainless steel option.

Now it’s time for the giveaway. One lucky winner will receive their own 12 oz Aqua Blue Biner Vacuum Mug from Timolino! And don’t forget to enter day one of the Perfect Picnic giveaway series here.

One lucky winner will win. You have until March 29, 2016 to enter. And don’t forget to check out Day One and Day Three of Perfect Picnic Giveaway Week!

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Plan the Perfect Picnic + GIVEAWAY

Only 1 more day to enter! Giveaway ends March 29th!

Spring is here! And for my mountain family that means picnics. I’m not sure why eating outdoors is more fun than eating indoors but with the warm sun and a place to play, it’s a great way to spend time outside with the tots.

A picnic can be as simple as sitting on the grass, eating a sandwich, but I’ve found that the right gear can make the experience SO much better. This is especially true with a son with food allergies. Since Big E is allergic to wheat, eggs and nuts we always bring our own food. And sometimes that requires good planning and good gear.

This week I have challenged myself to plan the Perfect Picnic. I figure I’ll need a few practice runs so for the next three days I will be eating outdoors and posting about it on instagram, twitter and the Mountain Mom and Tots Facebook Page. I invite you join me. Tag @mountainmomtots in a photo of your perfect picnic so we can share the outdoor dining love.

As part of the Perfect Picnic challenge I will also be reviewing some of our favorite picnic gear and hosting GIVEAWAYS! I contacted all of the companies featured here to request items to review and giveaway. I’ll tell you why in the pages that follow.

What makes a good picnic? Sunny weather. Tasty food. Good company. I can’t help you with the weather or company but perhaps some of the reviews these next three days will help with keeping your food tasty. What will your next outdoor eating adventure be?

Monkey Mat

This portable floor folds up small so it’s easy to take anywhere. We used it all last fall and have already put it to good use this spring. And now there’s a quilted version that’s included in the giveaway below! Woohoo!

Read my full review here. You have until March 29th to enter.

To- Go Ware

What better way to pack a picnic than to stack your food all together? To-Go Wareis a great eco-conscious brand offering renewable bamboo utensils and food grade stainless steel to promote Zero Waste habits. I was inspired to incorporate more reuseables in my life recently and these To Go Ware Utensils and 2-Tier Stainless Lunch Boxare the perfect way to pack a picnic. Follow them on instagram at @togoware!

Now’s your chance to win the perfect Picnic Package. Be sure to scroll to both screens and come back tomorrow for another Perfect Picnic Post and GIVEAWAY!

You have until March 29, 2016 to enter. Be sure to enter Day Two and Day Three Perfect Picnic Giveaway too!

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