Monthly Archives: June 2011

My 10 Most Unforgettable Childhood Moments

noun /ˈmōmənt/

An exact point in time.
An appropriate time for doing something, an opportunity.
A particular stage in something’s development or in a course of events.

Ever since the Grass Stain Guru re-posted her “10 Can’t Miss Childhood Moments” I’ve been thinking about my own list. To be honest, a wave of moments flooded my mind even before I’d finished reading her list. (more…)

Teach Anticipation and Foresight. Plan a Hike.

I just read this fascinating article in Psychology Today that talked about what skills the current generation will need in order to be successful by the time they’re old enough to hold down a job.  The author points out that the model for our current education system was invented over a hundred years ago—when telephones were just being invented, refrigerators were blocks of ice, and television was pure science fiction.  In other words, during a time that today’s children absolutely cannot comprehend.  More importantly, the goals of education differed significantly a hundred years ago.  Today (as the author says):

“The best jobs will go to applicants who have the skillsets to analyze information as it becomes available, the flexibility to adapt when what were believed to be facts are revised, and to collaborate with other experts on a global playing field requiring tolerance, willingness to consider alternative perspectives, and articulately communicate one’s ideas successfully.”

How do we prepare our children for this future?  The author suggests encouraging activities that teach “predicting, planning, revising, and accountability”.

Here’s an idea: let your child plan the next hike. (more…)

Play Date @ Tahoe. Sand vs Cement.

I finally got to see Lake Tahoe yesterday on pretty much the coolest play date ever. With only a 1:2.5 child to parent ratio the day really could have gone either way; but we ended up having a blast. In fact the two youngest even took naps in the beach tent! I have a feeling Tahoe will be seeing a lot of us this summer. Although next time we’ll have to bring the crawdad catcher Joe and Ari have been working on, and some paddle boards…

In the course of the past week my kids have also enjoyed two other water play dates. One at a swimming pool, the other at a water park. While fun in their own right, at both of those places my kids lasted about an hour or two. They lasted all day at Tahoe. There’s something about the presence of sand, and the absence of cement (and crazy kids everywhere) that puts us all at ease. Anyone else noticed that?

Use #1 for a Stick: Find North

SO. It’s Saturday morning. You and your little ones head out on a hike; into the Great Outdoors in search of dinosaur bones, owl pellets, and the yellowest dandelion. At the trailhead your offspring reaches into his pack to pull out a compass—“Let’s head north!” s/he proclaims, fumbling past granola bars, kleenex, a g.i. joe figurine, and the forgotten-about-rocks from last week’s hike.

Alas, it seems the compass has been left on the back lawn, where it was last used during a make-believe game of cowboys and aliens. While your child laments this tragedy, you laugh. Being the wise and experienced parent, you scoff at your child’s need for technology. You don’t need no stinkin’ compass to find north, now do you? Of course not: you read and know how to find north using only a stick and the sun. (more…)

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

We took a trip to the Redwoods over Memorial Day. It was beautiful, not as crowded and rainy as I thought it would be, but a little on the cold and windy side. Still, a wonderful trip with my sister and her family. Ari and his cousin had a blast! As I was previewing photos from the trip there were two that made me laugh out loud, so I had to share.

#1 My first thought when I saw this photo was “wow, what a great shot!” Then I looked closer. Can you tell what’s wrong here? (FYI, click on the photo, it should get bigger).

I know! I had no idea they were playing with lighters until I saw this photo! It’s a good thing they don’t know how to use them for anything other than swords. Learn from my mistake on this one…


Nancy: Adventure. Exhausting, but Worth it.

I grew up camping quite a bit with my five siblings and my parents.  I remember splashing in creeks, going on hikes and bike rides, rigging up rope swings, making huts, catching snakes and cramming into a tent when the sun went down.  I look back on these memories with great fondness, and I know this must be why I seek out the same opportunities for my own children.

HOWEVER, I realize now, with only two small boys, how challenging it must have been for my mother to keep six of us (three girls and three boys) semi-clean, fed, happy, and on the radar.  I was curious to see how she did it.  Never, in all the many times that we went camping, did it occur to me that she was looking forward to the drive home more than she was the next round of freeze-tag-in-the-cactus-patch.

Why did she do it?  Why did she take us again and again when it was so exhausting?  I found the answer inspiring, and I think it might appeal to my readers who don’t naturally take to the idea of sleeping on the hard ground and taking baby-wipe-showers.

I am thankful everyday that my Mother (and Father) created for us the opportunities to experience the outdoors, no matter how hard it was on her, and I appreciate her optimistic outlook, always willing to go along for the adventure. So, it is with great honor that I present to you, an interview with MY very own OutsideMom.


Keeping Kids Safe Near Rivers and Streams

When I was 2 years old I was picnicking with my family in the mountains. My Mom was tending to my baby brother in the truck, my Dad was with my older siblings, each thought the other also had an eye on me. They found out I was playing down by the stream alone only when they heard me scream and saw me fall in. The water was about 4-5 feet deep. I was keeping my head mostly above water by flailing my arms. I was eventually able to grab onto a thick willow and keep myself afloat until my Dad could scrabble down the steep bank an rescue me. (more…)

Three Simple Dutch Oven Recipes to Impress

Now that your dutch oven is ready to go (or perhaps yours already was…), here are a few of my favorite recipes to make when camping.
Note: Pictured here is a variation of the Green Chile Cheese Cornbread and White Bean Chili recipe (minus the cornbread, plus black beans).

Also a note on dutch oven cooking:  So that you don’t lose heat, I often place my dutch oven in a shallow hole in the ground over some coals.  HOWEVER if the ground is wet, this doesn’t work at all.  You can also use a metal pail that is slightly wider in diameter than your dutch oven.  Put the coals in the bottom of the pail and place the dutch oven over the top of them.  If it is windy, you’ll need to rig up something to keep the heat around the dutch oven; I find the pail to work well, but I’m sure there are other solutions.  Wind is one reason why yesterday I wrote that dutch oven cooking is at its best on a sunny beautiful day! (more…)

Dutch Oven Cooking 101

Note: As per the discussion on facebook, this article does indeed end with the photo of a dog eating out of Dutch Oven with a cone on it’s head.

For me, cooking outside is either a complete nightmare or a wonderful delight.  It all depends on the weather (want a little food with your sand? Anybody feel like stepping out of the car and into the rain to see how the chili is doing?), your mood (who wants to make fajitas after coaxing kids to walk three miles in seven hours?), and the mood of those who will be eating your food (come on, son.  One more bite and then you can roast marshmallows).  For those moments when the stars align, the children are happy, the cook is motivated, and the weather is gorgeous, consider the dutch oven.  Why?  Let me tell you. (more…)


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

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