Monthly Archives: July 2011

Lia: Starting Outdoor Playgroups

I don’t know Lia personally, but I wish I did. I first met her when she interviewed me on her blog. Her blog is actually more like a website she uses to keep parents up-to-date and informed about “Skedaddle“, the outdoor playgroup she’s created. A playgroup that meets every week no matter what the weather.. in Alaska! I can’t believe she actually had 20 people show up for a playgroup when it was -20°! She must be doing something right.

One of these days I WILL make it to her playgroup… Thanks for doing the interview Lia, for sharing your outdoor playgroup wisdom and for being a truly inspirational OutsideMom!


Use #2 for a stick: Call a Woodpecker

That’s right, there’s more than one way to use a stick.

Here’s one you may not know about, but that I learned about from David Attenborough on his The Life of Birds videos (I put a youtube video of Attenborough in action at the bottom).

Note that Attenborough uses a rock, which, obviously, can work too.  I have found that sticks resonate better, but it may depend on the type of stick, the type of ‘drum’, and the type of bird.  I leave you to find what works best in your area.

Especially useful during breeding season, woodpeckers (by the way, did you know that a group of woodpeckers is called a ‘descent’ of woodpeckers?) respond not only to vocal calls, but to the drumming sounds they make when hammering at wood with their sturdy beaks.  Each drumming rhythm is unique to the particular species (though some sound a lot alike to me!) and not only attracts a mate, but also helps to delineate territories.



Here are some examples: (more…)

Was I “Born to Run”?

When a friend of mine told me I should read Born To Run the first words out of my mouth were “but I don’t like running.” She assured me you don’t have to be a runner to appreciate the book. I was still a little apprehensive.

So there it sat, collecting dust on my nightstand month after month. Finally one evening I picked it up with the intention of skimming it so I could at least return it. I was hooked after the first page. Why?

  • Christopher McDougall is so witty, I was laughing out loud through the entire book. I was even captivated through the acknowledgments.
  • It’s such a great story! I like how the book touches on both the ‘physical’ and ‘human’ nature of the characters, and how that plays a part in not only their running, but essentially their lives.  I’ll admit, I thought about crying at the end.
  • Being a science nerd, I was intrigued by the human evolutionary insights.
  • Yes, it’s about running, but there are lessons that can be applied to any sport, and any person, in any situation. Take for example this quote:

If you really want to understand the Raramuri, you should have been there when this ninety-five-year-old man came hiking twenty-five miles over the mountain. Know why he could do it? Because no one ever told him he couldn’t. No one ever told him he oughta be off dying somewhere in an old age home. You live up to your own expectations, man.
-Micah True, p. 50

The whole book just left me feeling inspired. Like I could stand to live up to my own potential a little better. And you know, maybe I really could learn to like running…

Anyone else read it? What did you think?

The All-Weather Kiddie Pool

When we made our move from Utah to Nevada last year we had a few problems fitting all our belongings in the moving truck. Our house just kept exuding STUFF. A lot of that stuff got left behind…

The plastic swimming pool was absolutely not one of those things that got left behind. Heaven forbid. I know, I know, I’m sure we broke all sorts of safety standards with our packing job, but I think any safety inspector would have understood once he heard why we had to keep the kiddie pool.

We moved in the fall and there was no way we were going to find a plastic pool replacement that time of year. Why does this matter? Because around here the kiddie pool is not just used in the hot summer months. It is a year round imagination device disguised as an ankle-wetter. Do you realize how perfect these things are for: (more…)

How to encourage creativity: Embrace chaos

I love TED talks.  They are varied, fascinating, and stimulating.  They make me think of things that it never occurred to me to think about. Here is one that I watched not too long ago. It has been viewed over 5 million times, and has been extremely well-received.

At first I was inspired: the idea that we can be ‘educated out of our creative capacities’ hit a chord with me, the girl who has spent the last 29 years being educated and is currently feeling rather water-cracker bland.

Then it hit me what he seemed to be implying and I felt slightly indignant. (more…)

A Home for Pinchy

The other day we took an outing down to the river.  I was kayaking with some friends while the boys looked for crawdads.  Their search was a success, they found a “ginormous” crawdad that Ari just had to keep, but only for a few days…

Pinchy (as it came to be known) accompanied us to a 4th of July BBQ (in a Tupperware), then came home with us to take up residence in the kiddy pool for a few days.  Ari constantly stopped by the pool to watch Pinchy scuttle along the bottom.  He’d pick Pinchy up in a cup, examine it, ask me all sorts of pinchy-related questions I couldn’t answer, and try to feed it various things from the kitchen (naan, pepperoni, dog food, carrots etc…) (more…)

10 Best Foods to Pack on Outdoor Adventures

Note: A version of this article was also published last week as a note by Nature Rocks via their Facebook page. Thanks go out to Nature Rocks for featuring tips from OutsideMom.Com.

Summer is officially here—the longest day of the year has already come and gone, and now it is time to hike in earnest!  Quick before winter shows up again!  Each summer I empty out my well-worn pack of all the junk has accumulated in it over the last year, turn it inside out and shake out the debris, and re-stock it for the year.  I have a food pouch in my pack.  In it there resides a constant supply of (mostly) non-perishables that are (always) tasty.  Today I’m sharing with you my list of favorite hiking foods; like a good wardrobe these items are cheap, and can be mixed and matched in any combination to create delectable moments in your mouth (ummm… that last part should actually never happen with your wardrobe…). (more…)

Random News Worth Checking Out

A few times a week I come across an interesting study, a fabulous article or some other random thing. I typically post such finds on facebook or twitter. But if you tweet and/or facebook like I do, (i.e. an average of 10 minutes a day spent on both) you miss a lot of stuff.

So, in case you missed these, here are 5 links from the past few weeks I’d recommend checking out.

1. Making Time from Women’s Adventure Magazine. I love every word of this article. Maybe it was the timing (feeling a little burned out) or maybe it’s that I feel like the woman who wrote this totally gets me. For me, still going on adventures with my girl friends is essential. (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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