Category Archives: family

little man on trail

10 tips on how to hike with kids

Hiking with kidsThis summer we stuck close to home and enjoyed some of the stunning wilderness right in our backyard, in Utah. Hiking is a wonderfully simple form of fun and exercise requiring very little gear and expense. No matter where you live- there are trails nearby.  Here are 10 tips on how to hike with kids- get kids off the couch and into the wild without complaint and with a smile on their face.

hiking with wildflowers1. Do your research. Talk to locals, friends, consult guidebooks and make sure you know what you’re getting into before you start. Ask others about their favorite hikes and recommendations based on kids age and experience. Start short and simple and work up in distance and difficulty from there. Kids will learn to love the outdoors if they begin by having pleasant memories of excursions, and then (fingers crossed) beg for more.

snack time on Timpanogos2. Snacks and breaks. Be sure to bring along plenty of food and water for everyone. I would highly recommend a Camelback or other hydration system with an easy access tube for drinking water. You will ingest a lot more water if it’s conveniently reached. Bring finger foods that are easy to pack and eat. Our favorite trail snacks are: Granola bars, trail mix, crackers, cheese wedges (in wax) and hard salami- don’t forget a pocket knife. Apples and peanut butter (in a small tupperware container), gummy bears, goldfish and of course a few treats you don’t keep in the pantry at home as an added bonus- a favorite candy bar, cookies of your choice in snack size packaging.

eating wild raspberriesWe stopped to admire and snack on wild raspberries as we worked our way up the trail to the Mount Timpanogos Cirque.

Mt Timpanogos cirque3. Choose a visually beautiful destination. Time flies by when there is a lot to look at and enjoy while hiking, and a stunning final destination will be an unforgettable memory kids will remember the rest of their lives.

columbine, delphinium, indian paintbrush4. Stop to smell the flowers. Don’t try to move too fast, take your time and look around at the details of your surrounding. Point out what you observe and encourage little ones to look closely too. Bring a guidebook and identify flowers, birds, insects, rock formations… Make it an informal, cleverly disguised, learning experience. You might be surprised at what you see when you look close enough.

play with wildlife5. Enjoy the wildlife, in whatever form you encounter.  We love catching- or at least trying- little critter along the way wherever we are- snakes, frogs, fish, lizards, dragonflies, butterflies… Make sure kids get permission first- ask before touching a critter that might be harmful. We catch, observe and study, then put the critter right back right where we found it.

I think it’s crucial to teach kids to be kind to every living thing, to invoke empathy and wonder and instill a kinship and stewardship with nature that can only help them become better, kinder people throughout their lives.

hike with loved ones6. Embark early, finish early. You always hear tales of getting lost, darkness falling, running out of water or food… (you might be able to tell a few tales of woe yourself) but try to avoid drama and trauma through preparedness.. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the whole hike by starting out early in the day and endeavoring to finish before everyone is too tired and upset.

waterfall, Sulfur creek, Capitol Reef UT7. Water. This can and will make all the difference to kids. The hike will become ‘fun’ instead of just walking-for-a-really-long-time if there is water to be played in.

air time with the kids8. Did I mention water? If the weather/temperature is permitting- let the kids get wet… constantly. A  hot, dry hike with kids should be avoided. Take ‘dry’ hikes in cooler weather and plan summer, hot weather hikes into splashing-stomping-jumping-playing days of fun.

hike with loved ones9. Bring friends and/or family. Kids will always behave better if they have a friend along. Bring a someone to keep them entertained, distracted and share discoveries with along the way.

mud mittens10. Have fun. Leave all you cares and worries behind. Be present and enjoy the company of those around you. Tell stories, sing songs, rap, reminisce, be silly. Likely (and luckily), you won’t have cell service in many place you hike, so use that phone only as a camera, give your kids the gift of your full attention and have a blast!

Here’s a short video by my spouse, The Talking Fly of our Sulphur Creek hike, in Capitol Reef National Park and the logistical basics on hiking it for yourself.

mad men dress challenge

I’m finally getting organized and submitting ‘the red dress’ to the Mad Men Dress Challenge on Julia Bobbin’s blog. We seem to be pretty equally obsessed with the Mad Men era clothing so I’m glad to finally be involved in this sewing event.
Mad men Joan red dressJoan Holloway wears all her dresses so well, especially the red ones. We decided to give the ‘Joan in Red’ look a try, complete with an updo hairdo but sans the red hair. You may recall this dress from the Preference dance (a few months ago), chosen by my vintage-obsessed daughter Q:
Mad Men Joan's red dressQ’s looking just a good as Joan at the Sterling|Cooper|Draper|Price office Christmas party (Mad Men season 4) with- hopefully- slightly less suggestive dance moves throughout the night.

Mad Men Joan's red christmas party dressThe back of the dress was a gorgeous cut, only missing a bow in a true look-alike contest.

1958 McCalls dress patternI can’t recall where I picked up the pattern, but it was so easy, just like the pattern says. I can’t wait to make it again. The avocado green dress in the picture above is also from a 1950’s era pattern I made about a year ago, here are more pictures of that dress and pattern .

For the making of Joan’s red dress look here.
For the event photos go here.

For the Mad Men apparel obsessed, here’s my Pinterest board stash of inspiration.

And Julia’s got a great Mad Men Pinterest board too.

into the wild

Our spring break story…
20130408-135339.jpg I took the kids backpacking into Coyote Gulch in Escalante Utah, one of the most beautiful places on earth, a spot I’ve been backpacking before- but not the kids, not yet at least.

20130408-135356.jpgWe joined some friends and went into the canyon through ‘Crack in the Wall’, a new entry point for me. It took some lowering of backpacks with ropes and then shimmying through a narrow gap to get down to the canyon floor.

20130408-135424.jpgBeginning with Stevens Arch (I believe) there are beautiful arches every few miles, one of the spectacular features of this hike.

20130408-135443.jpgJug Handle Arch

20130408-135454.jpgJacob Hamblin Arch, the most famous of the Coyote Gulch line up.

20130408-135510.jpgOhh and a natural bridge too.

20130408-135607.jpgThe Escalante River meanders it’s way through the canyon, cascading over waterfalls.

20130408-135624.jpgThe leaves were out on the Aspen trees and buds appeared on the other foliage. We were about a month too early to see all the desert flowers in bloom.

20130408-135648.jpgAnd a bit early for swimming, only about 70 degrees (air temp) for a high. We enjoyed the waterfalls from a distance, with just our feet in the water.

20130408-135714.jpgAhh… sleeping in the sand, great for kids and the weary Ambien induced traveler. The star gazing was phenomenal with moon light casting shadows on the cliff walls.

20130408-135730.jpgBackpacking breakfast of champions- hot chocolate and oatmeal, on a rock shelf table.

20130408-135807.jpgRock shelf table (1st night) better than sandy floor/tiny rock table (2nd night). But it’s-all-good, just happy to be camping along side a beautiful arch.

20130408-135828.jpgTeens, all in a row, heading back across the slick rock after a fantastic few days in the great red rock outdoors.

So, now it’s back to real life and work and lots of sand covered laundry. But we’ve got a head full of magical memories we’ll never forget!