Monthly Archives: October 2012

Best. Hiking food. Ever.

Back in September Lindsey took me on a hike for my birthday.  The hike was wonderful for so many reasons:

1)  I got to spend six uninterrupted hours with Lindsey.  We never worried about getting eaten by a mountain lion–we blathered and laughed loud enough to scare away every bit of wildlife within 45 miles.

2)  We got to hike down in the dark, by full moon, and it was exhilirating.

3)  She brought us ‘dinner’ for the top.  While snuggled into a rock shelter to stay out of the frigid wind, she pulled out a birthday brownie, complete with a candle and birthday song.  And she pulled out Chicken Puffs.  I have concluded that these Chicken Puffs are the tastiest possible hiking treat.  Comfort food in a ziploc baggie?  Yes, I think so.

I’ve since made them for my husband on his hunting trips and he concurs.

Rather than keep this yumminess all to ourselves, today we are sharing Lindsey’s Amazing Chicken Puff Recipe, complete with two variations on the theme.  Enjoy.

*** quick note:  Lindsey and I used butter croissant dough from the can… like Pillsbury or Great Value brand…  you could also use real puff pastry dough and cut it to the size you want***


Incorporating the outdoors into your Halloween festivities

Since the month of October is one of my favorite times of year for getting outdoors, we tend to incorporate that into our Halloween festivities.  I’m not into the blood and gore of Halloween, so we try to focus on other aspects… the spiders, owls, bats, and pumpkins, along with some fall colors and crisp cool air-appreciation.

A few traditions we have enjoyed:

Halloween bike ride
After it gets dark, throw on a jacket, strap on a headlamp, and take a bike ride around the neighborhood to check out decorated Halloween houses.

Halloween tree hunting
Much like Christmas tree hunting, we use this as a good excuse to get out in the woods. We search for the perfect “spooky branch” to decorate. Note: This branch can later be recycled for a Thanksgiving thankfulness tree.

Night hike
There is always a full moon sometime around Halloween, this year it’s even really close! October 29th is the ‘Hunters Moon‘. This makes for a great night to take a Halloween hike. Look for critters out after dark. You could even take a hike in your costumes for added awesomeness.

Outdoor Halloween Party
Last year we were fortunate enough to accompany some friends on their traditional Halloween camp-out at the beach in central California. All the kids brought their costumes and participated in Halloween party, camping style. Bobbing for apples in the wash basin, doughnuts hanging from stings on the tent trailer awning and hunting for pirate treasure buried in beach sand.

Destination Trick-or-Treating
Since October is a great month to travel, consider a family vacation around this time of year. We’re rarely home for Halloween and have enjoyed trick-or-treating in some small out of the way desert towns.

Pumpkin picking
A trip to the pumpkin patch is always in order. We take the kids out and let them pick their own pumpkin to take home and carve up.  Its a half-day outing that usually includes exploring the tractors at the farm and some caramel apples.  Good times.

And of course, don’t forget these nature themed do-it-yourself costumes. I tried this year, but was vetoed in favor of Spiderman and a Clone Trooper. You can’t win em all!

Happy Halloween season!

If you have an outdoor tradition, please share!

Making an Olivia Bag (aka ‘survival kit’) for overseas travel…

Here’s a question from Sarah, a reader with great Christmas ideas:

I’m actually working on my Christmas stuff and had a quick question on your Olivia bag post. I’m making two of these for my sister and brother in law who live in Peru. They have four girls, all under 10. My brother in law routinely travels into the jungle, visiting villages along the way. I thought the Olivia bag would be a great Christmas gift since its practical and easy to take back. But I’m wondering how you would modify this for international travel/outdoors. Maybe there are some things that would be great additions to the bag for them that I can’t think of? And maybe some things can be eliminated or they might have problems in customs? 

What I love about this question is that the timing is SO PERFECT!  I’m travelling to Peru the beginning of November and (in my insane excitement) have already started packing!  It got me to thinking—could one put together an International list of multi-purpose items useful for travelling outside the country?

Here’s the thing:  international travel includes a huge range of activities, climates, cultures, and (ew) diseases.  Coming up with a universal set of items useful in all environs can be tricky…  but I’ve traveled to a few countries over the last 15 years, ranging from the relatively laid back New Zealand, to hot and humid China.  And believe it or not there are things that are useful in all hemispheres.

The key is that these items are related to the travel lifestyle:  moving, limited packing space, and being comfortable outside your comfort zone… they have less to do with the cuisine of the Maori or the species of mosquito in the Amazon, and more to do with you, and the fact that you are the same person, with the same needs, wherever you find yourself.  Also, I like items that serve multiple purposes, that aren’t especially expensive, so that you can give them away or ditch them if you decide you don’t need them after all.

Just like your Olivia Bag, any international bag needs to be modified to fit your needs.  But here’s what I intend to put in mine. (more…)

Tips for the beginning kayaker

Helena sent me this question (via ask outsidemom) a few months back, and I decided to keep her in suspense for awhile before responding. You know, just to keep things interesting… (sorry Helena)

I want to start kayaking but have never been before! The closest I’ve come is rafting. So my question is… what’s the best way to get started/learn, and when is it safe to take a child along? What age etc.?


First I asked Helena if she was interested in flat water kayaking or whitewater kayaking. Her reply: Well, we are a military family currently stationed in Florida. We will probably always be stationed near the ocean, so probably flat water.

Although come to think of it, I suppose the steps for starting out would be very similar no matter what kind of kayaking you’re looking to do. After all, as a whitewater kayaker, the first place I learned to paddle was on a big flat lake in northwestern Washington. For this reason I’m mainly covering flat water kayaking related issues.

1. Choose a boat (more…)

Your favorite fall activities (and winner announced)

Congratulations Erin Z! You just won a pair of Patagonia shoes compliments of! Erin’s favorite fall activity?

Ooo, I love playing in the leaves with the kids in the fall and as an outdoor ed preschool-3rd teacher this year I have really enjoyed spiders, bird watching, and soon making leaf crowns!

A woman after my own heart… I will be contacting you shortly, you’ll have 24 hours to respond to my email to claim your prize!

Now, for a roundup of your top 12 fall activities:

Patagonia shoe GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway is closed!

I’m a sucker for all things Patagonia. If I had to choose one clothing brand to be stranded on a desert island with, I’d probably choose Patagonia.

But we’re not talking about their clothes today. We’re talking about Patagonias shoes. I’ve never tried any of their shoes, but they sure have some good looking styles.  And if they’re as awesome as their clothes?  Well… I would willingly be stranded on a desert island with those too.

So, in celebration of Patagonia Advocate Weeks, we’re going to give a pair of shoes away!

What is Patagonia Advocates Week?

It’s an event that starts today. For every pair of Patagonia shoes purchased at from 10/9-10/22, Patagonia will donate $10 to the Conservation Alliance.

What is the Conservation Alliance? 

Their mission is “to engage businesses to fund and partner with organizations to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values.” They direct their funding to community-based campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat, preferably where outdoor enthusiasts recreate.

How can you win some shoes? 

Leave a comment telling us What is your favorite fall outdoor activity?

Winner get’s to choose a pair of Patagonia shoes from Choose from their women’s, men’s or boot collections.

..and I will be completely jealous of the winner.

Good luck! (more…)

“Ooooon this Harvest Moon”

I have a thing for the Harvest Moon. Maybe it’s the time of year? The air is getting crisp, the leaves are starting to change, the chaos of summer is over, I get to start wearing a jacket again… Or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m a big Neil Young fan?

Whatever the reason, the Harvest Moon has driven me to the top of a mountain peak every year for the last three years. I try to time arrival on the summit to just as the sun is starting to dip below the horizon in the west while the moon rises in the east. I sit on top of the peak, bask in the beauty, eat really good snacks, and as soon as it’s too cold to loyter any longer, I hike back down by the light of the moon.

This year I hiked Deseret Peak in Northern Utah. The view was a bit smoky (from all the fires in Idaho), but the company was great. I don’t get the chance to hike with Olivia much these days, and that’s really unfortunate, for her. Pretty sure I talked her ear off for five hours straight.

I love this tradition.


Review: The ERGO Performance Carrier for hiking

It’s no secret how much I love my Ergobaby carrier. In fact the post BJORN vs Ergo remains one of our most popular. So when Ergobaby gave me the chance to review their new Performance Carrier along with some assorted ‘accessories’, I was much obliged.

In general the Ergo baby carrier is great for every day wear, walking around the block, cruising around a farmer’s market, or the county fair. But how does it perform once you leave the pavement and start to gain elevation?

Here’s why the Ergo design (any of their carriers, old or new) works great for hiking: (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

    I don't blog alone! Meet outsidemom contributer Olivia